Born September 21, 1928, in Jackson, Tennessee, the second son of parents, James M. and Christine M. Becton. At the age of two our family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where my mothers brother, Reverend G. H. Brown pastored a Pentecostal Church. We did not immediately attend the church that he pastored, however, after attending the First Baptist Church for a short period of time; my parents felt that we should make a change. This was the beginning of our experience of Pentecost, both parents receiving the Pentecostal experience.
It was in the summer of 1940 in a revival meeting with Brother Odell Cagle that I received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and was baptized in the Name of Jesus. From that time on I remained in the church. Page Down
I was always interested in learning to play the piano and when I was ten, I began to take piano lessons and a year or so later I began lessons on the accordion. I immediately began to play both instruments in church services. At the age of 15 I left home with my parents consent and properly chaperoned and played for a Stamps Quartette. At the age of 16 I was teaching piano and accordion in the Stamps School of Music in Dallas, Texas. This was the summer of 1945 and I had a strong feeling that this was not the life for me. It was really more than just a strong feeling; I actually heard the audible voice of the Lord.
Pentecostal Bible Institute was opening for their first year in Tupelo, Mississippi. It was the fall of 1945 and I became a pioneer student with about 28 others for the very first term. It was in the second semester of that year while in a weekend service in Iuka, Mississippi, that I felt the call into the ministry. I was 17 years of age and started in the evangelistic work when that term ended. My first revival experience was in Nashville, Tennessee. My evangelistic days continued until the fall of 1950 when I took my first church to pastor and that was in Bay City, Texas.
While growing up in the church in Little Rock, Arkansas, a family by the name of Dyson was also members of that church. They had several children and one of them; a daughter was about the same age that I was, her name was Margie. We started out at very young ages liking each other. This continued through the years and we were married in 1947 and she became right away an evangelists wife and three years later a pastors wife. We will be celebrating our 55th Wedding anniversary this year, happily married.
We had three wonderful children: Rudy was born in 1948 and traveled with us from the time that he was 3 weeks old until we settled down to pastor when he was 2. Ronald was born in 1952 in Bay City, Texas, where we continued pastoring until 1957. In 1957 we became the first pastor of a small group of people in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and it was there that we had our third child, a daughter and we named her Renee. This made for us a wonderful and complete family.Page Down
We moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1960 to become the pastor of the West Nashville Pentecostal Church, later the name was changed to the First United Pentecostal Church.
Our three children are all married: Rudy married Helen McNalley and they have two children, Alicia and Arlen.
Ronald married Cheryl Grisham and they have one son, Austin.
Renee married Richard Flowers and they have two sons, Chad and Chase.
All of them have been baptized in the Name of Jesus and are filled with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and all of them including the grandchildren are working for the Lord.
Positions that I have held in the United Pentecostal Church are the following:
1952-1957 Youth Secretary of the Texas District
1958-1960 Home Missions Director of the Arkansas District
1961-1967 Secretary of the International Youth Division
1968-1976 General Secretary of the United Pentecostal Church International
1978-1981 Assistant General Superintend of the UPCI
1982-1998 General Secretary of the UPCI
1982-Present One of two speakers on Harvestime
1999-Present Honorary member of the General Board of the UPCI
In the 1998 General Conference, held in Greensboro, North Carolina, I felt that I should not let my name stand any longer for the position of General Secretary. Brother Jerry Jones was elected at that conference to succeed me.
A total of 25 years as General Secretary came to an end December 31, 1998. Since that time we have lived in Texas attending Emmanuel Pentecostal Church pastored by our son-in-law, Richard Flowers. However, we are not retired. We travel most every week and enjoying life as we always have. Page Up