Captain Michael Paugh is The Salvation Army leader in Modesto, California. He and his wife Beth are responsible for several programs that serve people in need in the Central California town.

Their hometown newspaper, the Modesto Bee, recently did a sweet story on Captain Michael’s brand new music ministry. Click here to read the story and see the photos.

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In the Modesto Bee story, Captain Michael says he was challenged by a conference speaker who suggested that feeding homeless people was only part of the picture. The speaker wanted to know, “is that the only thing we’re giving to people?”

When Captain Michael was studying at our College for Officer Training – the two-year seminary program for budding Salvation Army officers – he taught himself to play the guitar. It was his way of covering the bases, just in case he was ever assigned to lead a Salvation Army church that didn’t have a music program.

Now he uses his guitar to play familiar Sunday School songs to the hungry crowd waiting in line for a meal. He’s deliberately picked songs that may pluck a chord of recognition with his audience. Songs like, “Jesus Loves Me,” or “I’ve Got a River of Life Flowing out of Me.” He’s also begun to do some old hymns too, like “Amazing Grace,” or “The Old Rugged Cross” (my personal favorite!).

Captain Michael says the crowd seems to love it. Many of the folks clap and sing along and a few brave souls even come forward to help him lead their time of worship together!

To me, this is a near-perfect example of the kind of dedication to mission of Salvation Army officers and staff I hear about every day. Captain Michael is using his gifts and talents to do something extra to bless the people he serves and honor God too.

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