On January 14, 2001, a new gospel quartet stepped on stage in Hazelhurst, Georgia for the very first time. They had started preparing and planning for this moment even ten months before this concert. As a newly formed quartet, their experience in the Southern Gospel Music Industry is outstanding. Most important, they are striving to do God's will. This group is none other than Danny Funderburk & Mercy's Way.
Mercy's Way includes Danny Funderburk, Stan Shuman, Jason Funderburk, and Keith Plott. While maintaining their solo careers, they are extremely excited about the doors that God is opening for them in this new ministry. They are also looking forward to their first appearance at the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion in Greenville, South Carolina. They have just released a new project entitled, "God Will Have a Church." This project includes a great selection of songs by such writers as Squire Parsons, Greg Day, Darrell Williams, Dianne Wilkinson, Roger Horne, and others.
Southern Gospel Music has many different variations of Gospel Music and finding a perfect definition can sometimes be difficult. Yet sometimes the simplest definition says it all. Stan defines this great music as "Music with a message of Jesus Christ our Saviour, Redeemer, and soon coming King." Keith said that Southern Gospel is anointed lyrics through song. Jason defined it as "Music that draws its roots from the Bible with a hint of Southern Heritage." Danny summed it up by defining it as "Traditional Gospel Music that does not compromise."
As Tenor of the group, Danny Funderburk is definitely no stranger to Southern Gospel Music. You will probably remember him best for traveling with the legendary Cathedral Quartet. During his seven years with the Cathedrals, he received the Singing News Male Vocalist Award for three consecutive years and the Singing News Favorite Tenor Award for three years. Danny received Dove Awards along with the Cathedrals, and had many #1 Hits, such as "Somebody Touched Me," "I've Just Started Living," "Boundless Love," and many others. He also traveled with Perfect Heart for five years, where he had yet another #1 song entitled "Somebody Touched the Lord." Danny and his wife Joy have three children, Dana, Jason, and Derek. They are all very involved in church, and Joy teaches at the Christian School there. Dana is married and is a nurse for a family doctor. Jason sings with the quartet, and Derek, 15, is involved in Missionary Work. Danny said, "All of my family is saved, and on my days off we enjoy going out to eat, bowling, and playing with my sons and son-in-law."
I am sure that you could name someone who has had a great impact on your life in a special way. The members of Mercy's Way are no exception. Danny said that his mom and dad, Bill and Betty Jo Funderburk, have had the greatest influence on his life and ministry. Stan also said that his mom and dad, Rev. & Mrs. Walter R. Shuman, had influenced him. Jason said that his dad, Danny Funderburk, has influenced his life. Keith said that his mom, dad, wife, and kids had all influenced him in some way.
Wouldn't you like to have written your favorite song? Danny said that he would like to have written "Amazing Grace," because "His grace has always been sufficient for my needs." Keith said, "Plan of Salvation," because the words tell it all." Jason would like to have written "Somebody Touched Me," because of the prayers of this song. Stan finished by saying, "Midnight Cry," because it talks about the greatest event that will ever take place. When Jesus returns to take his Bride home with him for eternity. It's an exciting song for those who are ready and looking for his appearing."
Jason Funderburk is the Lead Vocalist for Mercy's Way. His family consists of Danny, his dad, Joy, his mom, Dana, his sister, and Derek, his brother. He also wanted to mention that his best friend is Renee. His most embarrassing moment on stage is when he looked down at his coat and realized the buttons did not match.
If you had one wish, what would you ask for? Here is how Mercy's Way answered this question. "I want to be the best Christian that I can be," said Keith. "I wish the whole world would understand the true love of Jesus Christ and understand that Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with Jesus Christ," Danny replied. "I want everyone to realize the peace that Jesus can give," answered Jason. "I wish that I would draw closer to God each day that I live and that I would be the best husband and dad to my kids," said Stan.
Every day that we live is a gift from God. As Christians, we have good days, bad days, and extraordinary days. What would you consider as the most wonderful day of your life? Jason said that the most wonderful day of his life was when he was saved when his dad led him to the Lord Jesus Christ in February of 1987. Stan said, "The day I was saved and the day my wife and I chose to become one and to be companions for the rest of our lives." Keith replied, "Salvation, marriage, and the birth of my children." "The day Jesus saved me, the day I got married, and the three times God blessed me with three wonderful and beautiful children," Danny said.
As Baritone for the group, Stan Shuman started singing in 1970. He has traveled as a soloist and with many different groups, such as Naomi & the Segos, The Accords, and Swannee River Boys. He has made many Television appearances including P.T.L., The 700 Club, and many others. He has also appeared on the Gospel Greats Syndicated Radio Program. Stan and his wife Kitty have four children, Walt, Stania, Darin, and Kaylee. He said, "When I'm not on the road, we enjoy going out to eat Mexican and of course McDonald's for the kids. We also enjoy shopping and spending time with our animals, a Toy Poodle and two baby goats."
Proverbs 17:22 says, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." So, I think this article would not be complete without some embarrassing moments from Danny and Stan. Danny explains, "A lady walked up to me that I had not seen in about seven years. She and her husband were special friends of mine, and I asked her how she was doing. She said not so good, that her husband had left her. I told her what a terrible and sorry thing that was for him to do. She said, "Danny, he didn't leave me like you're thinking, he passed away three months ago." I never felt so embarrassed in all of my life." Stans most embarrassed moment occurred when, "I sang at a church and thought I was in the men's restroom. I realized very soon that I wasn't when I heard two ladies talking about the guest singer that they were having that night. I found myself trying to keep my shoes from being seen in the stall next to them. I have never prayed so hard that the Lord would get those ladies out before they saw me in there."
Keith Plott is the quartet's Bass Singer. He is definitely an asset to the group, singing one of the most loved vocal parts of a Gospel quartet. Keith and his wife Bobbi have one son named Adam and one daughter named Elizabeth. They enjoy going on short mountain trips, visiting relatives, and eating together as a family during breakfast and supper time. Keith's most embarrassing moment occurred during his high school days when he marched through a three-mile Christmas parade with his pants unzipped.
Southern Gospel Songs have a way of comforting, encouraging, and bringing peace to an unbearable storm. Jason said that the song that has helped him through rough times in his life is "Just His Name." Keith said, "Who Am I," because it ministers to me when I'm down to think that a King would bleed and die for me." "Peacespeaker" has been an encouragement to me because when the storms of life are raging he can always speak peace to my troubled soul and soothe and refresh me with his love and mercy," commented Danny. Stan said, "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be," because it reminds me of my grandfather who was always happy in the Lord. He understood no matter what problems we faced, we would all be happy in this place call Heaven."
Danny, Stan, Jason, and Keith have many aspirations for this newly formed quartet. Keith wants to "be the best vocally we can be and sing with the anointing." Jason hopes to "see souls saved and to help people to have a closer relationship with God." Stan said, "I hope that we will always sing with the anointing and will always lift up the name of Jesus Christ to a hurting world. I hope that Mercy's Way would always be respected in Gospel Music as a group with dignity and integrity, always showing the love of Jesus Christ through our lives." Danny wants "A ministry that does not get caught up in the politics of Gospel Music and stays focused on the ministry at hand. That ministry is seeing lives changed."
With their goals and aspirations, they are destined to become another legendary Gospel Quartet. Still, their greatest accomplishment will always be their stand for Jesus Christ. Danny Funderburk & Mercy's Way is definitely "Walking God's Way."
Favorite Food: Chicken N' Dumplings
Favorite Food: Chinese
Favorite Food: Fried Potatoes
Favorite Food: Fried Chicken