The Keith Green Story pt 4/7

Keith Green had a major impact on me back in 1978 when I first heard him. Here is his story below:

Last Days Ministries

In 1978, Last Days Ministries (LDM) began publishing the Last Days Newsletter. Originally printed on a few pages of loose paper, the newsletter grew in content to eventually become a “small, colorful magazine,” and was renamed in mid-1985 as Last Days Magazine. The magazine featured articles by Green and his wife as well as contemporary Christian authors David Wilkerson, Leonard Ravenhill, and Winkie Pratney, all of whom lived in the area. The publication also later included the reprinted works of classic Christian authors such as Charles Finney, John Wesley, and William Booth and his wife Catherine. Most of the articles were reprinted as tracts. At the peak of its popularity, the Last Days Magazine was sent out to over 300,000 people worldwide.

In 1979, the ministry relocated from the San Fernando Valley to a 40-acre (160,000 m2) plot of land in Garden Valley, Texas, a crossroads community about nine miles (14 km) west of Lindale, Texas. Within a few years, Last Days purchased additional land, bringing the total to 140 acres (0.6 km2).

Plane crash

Gravesite at Garden Valley Cemetery

Along with eleven others, Keith Green died on , 1982, when the Cessna 414 leased by Last Days Ministries crashed after takeoff from the private airstrip located on the LDM property. The small two-engine plane was carrying eleven passengers and the pilot, Don Burmeister, for an aerial tour of the LDM property and the surrounding area. Green and two of his children, three year old Josiah, and two year old Bethany, were on board the plane, along with visiting missionaries John and Dede Smalley and their six children.

Among several causes, the NTSB determined that the crash was largely due to aircraft gross weight overload. It was determined that the pilot, should have refused to take five more passengers than there were seats on the plane. As Burmaster was a former United States Marine Corps aviator, the NTSB concluded that since military requirements put weight and balance responsibilities on the loadmaster of the flight and not the pilot, the pilot may have neglected this responsibility by former habit. With eleven passengers on board, the aircraft was overloaded by nearly 450 pounds (202 kg) and laden center of gravity was located 4.5 inches (110 mm) past the maximum aft limit. Also considered in the final ruling was the fact that operator and pilot did not satisfy insurance requirements for aircraft familiarization for operation, and pilot’s failure of several checkrides, leading to the revocation of Burmaster’s license shortly before the accident.

Keith, Josiah, and Bethany Green are interred at Garden Valley Cemetery behind the Garden Valley Baptist Church, less than a half-mile from the LDM property. He was survived by his wife and two daughters, the youngest of whom was born after Green’s death.


Two full albums of original Green songs were released posthumously: The Prodigal Son (1983) and Jesus Commands Us to Go! (1984). Another release, I Only Want to See You There (1983) contained mostly previously released material. A complete volume of his work, The Ministry Years, was released in 1987 and 1988, including a few more previously unreleased songs.

Another unreleased Christian song known to have been recorded by Green was “Born Again,” which was finally released in 1999, 17 years after his death, on the First Love compilation video and CD. Both feature a two-song tribute to Green by other Christian artists.

In 2008, Last Days Ministries and Sparrow Records partnered together and released The Live Experience – Special Edition, a CD+DVD combination of 16 live recordings and 4 hours of DVD footage including video of live performances as well as details regarding Green’s life and his passing.  A “Greatest Hits” album was also released at the same time, including 17 of Green’s most popular songs and one more previously unreleased Christian song, “Your Love Came Over Me”.  

A prolific personal journalist, Green’s writings were published as excerpts in the books A Cry In The Wilderness (Sparrow, 1993), If You Love the Lord (Harvest House, 2000), and Make My Life a Prayer (Harvest House, 2001).

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