It was over 25 years ago when Rance Allen was driving home and saw a State Farm Insurance billboard away in the distance. It said like a good neighbor, State Farm is there and I instantly began to sing, ‘like a good neighbor, Jesus is there,’ 9 the 68 year old Grammy Award nominated music legend recalls. He wrote Like A Good Neighbor that day and released it on the Rance Allen Group’s 1991 album, Phenomenon, which hit no. 1 on Billboards Gospel Albums sales chart that year. However, Allen felt the timing was right to dust it off and include it on the groups 25th album, Live From San Francisco (Tyscot Records), which recently debuted at No. 7 on Billboard Magazines Gospel Albums sales chart.
This is a depressing time, says Allen who has sung about spiritual and social issues since he and his brothers, Tom and Steve, founded their band in 1967. Its a time of unusual stress with all of the killings going on, the political mess that’s going on and there’s so many people who have just moved away from trusting in God. With the state of the world today, I thought this would be a good time to revisit this song for people who didn’t get the message the first go round.
The song is based on the Bible story of the man who was traveling and he got robbed along the way, Allen says. The ministers walked by him, other people passed him by but he was laying there bleeding until a good Samaritan came and helped him. This song is just a reminder for us to be good Samaritans. Allen is pastor of New Bethel Bountiful Blessings Ministry in Toledo, OH where the church has several philanthropic activities, including a feeding program.
Like A Good Neighbor is currently making noise on gospel radio stations and its also at the center of a social media challenge to encourage the public to do good deeds and then post camera phone videos of their good works on their social media pages with the hashtag: #GoodNeighborRanceAllenGroup.
Goodness is contagious, says Allen whose group is known for songs such as Something About The Name Jesus, Miracle Worker and You That I Trust, all Billboard chart hits. When people see other people doing good things, it softens their hearts and makes them want to do good things too, so Im looking forward to seeing all the good things that come out of this Good Neighbor campaign.
#GoodNeighborRanceAllenGroup video challenge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyIopNCujHU