It’s with great honour this year that we honour the beloved Gary ‘Tex’ Houston – musician, video producer and missions worker - as a winner of the 2022 Legacy Award.
Gary, who’s better known as ‘Tex’, spent decades as an integral player in Australia’s media and arts world, often leading the way with innovations that were ahead of his time.
In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s he started out as a highly successful singer and musician, working the clubs and pubs of Australia’s live music scene, up and down the East Coast.
Five years into this career, he had what he describes as a “dramatic conversion” to faith in Jesus and soon after, befriended David and Rosanna Palmer of the band Rosanna’s Raiders – who were winners of our Legacy Award last year. From that point on Tex became a constant presence in the Christian music scene.
He played for the band Power Praise, was involved in many youth and school outreaches, wrote many worship songs, released a solo album, and worked with David Smallbone to support touring acts like Petra, Michael W Smith, Amy Grant, and David Meece.
David Palmer of Rosanna’s Raiders speaks fondly of this time in ministry with Tex, describing him as “an amazingly creative person of great integrity, deep thought, blended with humour and zany entertainment”.
“I really miss the days we played concerts together, led worship together… we all enjoyed a very exciting life with Jesus,” David says.
Tex was a key player in launching the Youth Alive movement in the 90s and was a popular speaker on the youth preaching circuit at the time. He was known for his engaging discipleship approach, encouraging young people to live missional lives, showing love for their neighbour.
A Prolific Producer - of TV, Video, and Musicals
From the 90s until now Tex has worked prolifically as a video producer, and was involved in the launch of ACCTV. Some argue that he has produced more videos for the Christian market than any other individual – including many long-form documentaries on topics such as missions, ministry, Biblical Archaeology, and Anzac history. And in more recent years he was involved in reporting on natural disasters such as the Asian Tsunami, the Samoan Tsunami and the Queensland floods.
Neil Elliott, one of the founders of Australian Christian Channel, described Tex as “humble”, “faithful”, and a “pioneer in using media to grow God's Kingdom”.
“Using only minimal equipment and resources he was able to produce a wide range of mission documentaries, a feature on the Anzacs and hundreds of episodes of Choose Life TV with Pastor Alun Davies,” said Neil, “all of which we were privileged to air in the early days of the Australian Christian Channel.
“He is a visionary who understands the media and how it can be applied to multiply the impact of existing projects… I admire him greatly and thank him for his service to Christian media over so many years.”
In the mid 90s Tex combined his musical and video production skills to write and produce two full-length live theatre productions including HEAVEN – THE MUSICAL. These drama performances were synced to video playback, with a live music soundtrack played to a click track, and lighting sequences triggered by video. While it’s commonplace today, this kind of production was an amazing innovation in its time.
Tex has also worked as a lecturer and media producer for Harvest Bible College, and as creative ministries pastor at Faith Church, and for years was heavily involved in missions work – taking numerous trips into Asia, leading music teams to perform concerts in universities and schools, and heading up archaeology tours in the Middle East. And wherever he went, he would document the tours on video.
For years he worked closely with the AOG/ ACC’s missions arm, producing inspirational missions videos for use in churches across the nation.
Then, five years ago, after Harvest Bible College folded, Tex became a key player in the founding of AXX Bible College – building an online platform to deliver training to pastors and church leaders worldwide. The college continues growing to this day with over 1200 students signing up every month from over 100 nations.
Personal Challenges to Overcome
Anyone in Christian ministry knows about the obstacles and the budget constraints - but for Tex there have also been significant health challenges to overcome including years of chronic pain; although those close to Tex say he never allowed it to slow his work down.
More recently he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but a surgery in 2021, which Tex has described as a ‘Godsend’, has slowed the impact of this disease by reducing the characteristic hand tremors, enabling him to continue work on his current project, ‘Voices of Pentecost’. This upcoming documentary, being produced in partnership with research partner Dr Jon Newton, chronicles the history of the Pentecostal churches in Australia, featuring interviews with over 170 older Pentecostal ministers from around the nation.
Dr Brendan Roach, former president of Harvest Bible College and Founder of Axx College, describes Tex as a “kindred spirit”, and “a person who has always been kingdom first, friendship first, always wanting to bring the best out in others and himself.”
We are proud to honour Tex with the 2022 CMAA Legacy award.