HEButt Jr quote

admin_developer Uncategorized

“All history — world history, holy history, church history, plus your personal history and mine — tell us that God is dependably loving and good. You can rest your weary bones in that fact.”


News Release

admin_developer Uncategorized

Pioneer, Bridge Builder,
Champion of the Laity 

Howard Butt modeled transparency, hospitality, and a vision that unified Christians – even when the Church was polarized.

As a bridge builder between the secular and religious worlds, Butt is perhaps best remembered for convening groups from all walks of life for intellectual discussion and inspired reflection in the Texas Hill Country, often at the Laity Lodge Retreat Center.

Butt pioneered terms and concepts that became hallmarks of mainstream Christianity such as work/life balance, small groups and servant leadership. He also courageously modeled transparency, recognizing the benefit to others in acknowledging that everyone has struggles, at a time when most leaders feared showing any weakness.

A champion of the role of the laity, Butt influenced pastors and professionals alike. Earl Palmer, former Senior Pastor of University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, said “Many pastors would think that a great Christian lay person is a person that comes to my church all the time, that doesn’t say ‘no’ too much to my vision, supports us financially, and cares a lot about world missions. That’s not where Howard was. From the very beginning he was trying to think about how to do your work Christianly.”


Butt wrote several books on faith and leadership, beginning with The Velvet-Covered Brick: Christian Leadership in an Age of Rebellion, which introduced the concept of servant leadership to mainstream business audiences. Teaching the biblical concepts of submission and authority, he inspired future generations to have a more eternal perspective in their careers and personal lives.

Born in Kerrville, Texas, on Sept. 8, 1927, Butt grew up in the grocery business founded by his grandmother, Florence. From an early age, Butt devoted his life to his faith, making a commitment to Christ as a child. He attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, graduating in 1947 with a degree in business, and soon afterward married his longtime sweetheart, Barbara Dan Gerber. While a student at Baylor, Butt is credited with leading the youth revival movement of the 1940s and ’50s that spread across college campuses in cities throughout the country.

In his early years as a businessman and lay preacher, Butt served as an associate evangelist with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, even being invited to address one of the first National Prayer Breakfasts hosted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. Graham credited Butt with pioneering workplace ministry and told him, “Only when we get to heaven will we see how many lives you have touched through your ministry of evangelism and your tremendous work through Laity Lodge.”

As well as serving alongside Graham with his evangelistic association, Butt was a founding board member of Christianity Today magazine, where he and Graham worked together to encourage lay people in their daily ministry. Butt later organized the North American Congress of the Laity, whose honorary chair was President Gerald Ford.

His parents, Howard E. Butt, Sr., and Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth Butt, established the H. E. Butt Foundation in 1933, one of the earliest private foundations in Texas. It served as a vehicle for philanthropic contributions to south Texas communities and in 1954 acquired 1,900 acres in the rural Texas Hill Country to provide free outdoor camping facilities for underprivileged children. Butt, Jr., would later greatly expand his parents’ vision to serving more than 20,000 campers each year – nearly a million to date – including churches and other groups, as well as establishing the Laity Lodge Retreat Center.

While working at H-E-B, Butt continued to pursue spiritual endeavors, creating with Billy Graham the Laymen’s Leadership Institute, which hosted faith-based programs for business professionals. In recognition of his efforts on behalf of workers, Butt was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to the first Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity.

In juggling his roles with the business, family and foundation, Butt developed a growing concern for the overlooked role of the church laity – those not serving as ordained ministers, but active members of their faith communities – as well as the dignity of work itself. “God blesses work,” Butt wrote. “The excellence of the work Jesus Christ did in the carpenter shop at Nazareth was a part of His revelation of the character of God.” Feeling called to step away from day-to-day leadership of the grocery business in the late 60s, Butt transitioned to a board role as Vice Chair, and dedicated his life full-time to ministry.

With his acceptance of the presidency of the H. E. Butt Foundation in 1982, Butt expanded its charitable endeavors and role in integrating business and theology. He was inspired by his mother’s vision for the foundation to “house the great theological thinkers of our day – which may in time broaden and deepen the spiritual life of many a church,” and to “promote the highest aspirations known to men – ideas in education as well as in religion and in public health, both physical and mental.”

While increasing the number of children reached through the foundation’s free camping programs, Butt also added youth and family camps to the Laity Lodge Retreat Center, along with the Laity Lodge Leadership Forums, which brought together internationally renowned speakers such as celebrated author Madeleine L’Engle and professors and theologians Henri Nouwen, J.I. Packer, and N.T. Wright. It was here that the “small group” model was birthed, transforming churches across the nation as they embraced the concept later described by Keith Miller in the best-selling book The Taste of New Wine, written largely at Laity Lodge.

Of the thousands of business professionals influenced by Butt, many recall his hospitality as a hallmark of their time at Laity Lodge – his ability to make anyone feel welcome and safe, no matter their station in life nor their religious beliefs. He challenged them to use their gifts – which he believed came from God – to the utmost, saying that work had holy value, but that it also had to be balanced with personal growth and family commitments.

In addition to The Velvet-Covered Brick, he wrote several books, including At the Edge of Hope: Christian Laity in Paradox; Renewing America’s Soul; Renewing the Spirit, Healing the Soul; and Who Can You Trust? Overcoming Betrayal and Fear.

Butt also contributed regularly to “Laity Connections,” the Foundation’s quarterly newsletter, writing in the February 2002 issue: “Faith, the ‘evidence of things unseen,’ assures us that as we give our job, however big or small, our best for His glory, God uses both the work and us.”

In 2000, Butt began the radio broadcast “The High Calling of Our Daily Work,” which emphasized the inherent value of good, honest work. The 60-second spots were carried on 3,000 radio stations in all 50 states and reached millions of people. The radio spots created a platform for The High Calling website featuring some of the nation’s top writers, thinkers, and business icons.

A memorial service celebrating the life and witness of Howard E. Butt, Jr., will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at Trinity Baptist Church, 319 E. Mulberry Ave., San Antonio, Texas 78212. Howard E. Butt, Jr., is survived by his wife, Barbara Dan Butt; his siblings: Eleanor Butt Crook and Charles Butt; three children: Howard III (Pamela), Stephen (Susan), and Deborah Dan Rogers (David); and eight grandchildren: Howard IV, Hillary, and Jeffery Butt; Sarah and Shelby Butt; Katherine, Alexandra, and Jackson Rogers; and one great-granddaughter Charley Butt.


Biographical Timeline

admin_developer Uncategorized

Biographical Timeline

Howard Butt’s charisma and leadership capabilities surfaced at a very young age. His ministry as a businessman and lay person touched people and institutions all over the world for more than 70 years.

timeline icon


September 8, 1927

Kerrville, Texas

HEBJr Youth Revival


Leader in the Baylor Youth Revival Movement


Graduated Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Bachelor’s in Business Administration

Howard and Barbara


Married Barbara Dan Gerber


VP/Board Director, H-E-B
Corpus Christi, Texas

HEB Jr. at the Festival of Faith


Associate Evangelist, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Layman’s Crusades, Festivals of Faith


National Prayer Breakfast Speaker

Presidential Prayer Breakfast with Eisenhower
Howard E. Butt Leadership Initiative


Co-founder, Laymen’s Leadership Institutes


Founding Board Member, Christianity Today magazine, Carol Stream, Illinois


Appointed to President Kennedy’s Committee on EEO


Dedicated Laity Lodge Retreat Center

Laity Lodge Retreat Center
Laity Lodge Youth Camp


Dedicated Laity Lodge Youth Camp


Vice Chairman, H-E-B
San Antonio, Texas

H-E-B Logo


Founder, North American Congress of the Laity

HEB Jr., President, H.E. Butt Family Foundation


President, H.E. Butt Family Foundation, Kerrville, Texas


Laity Lodge Leadership Forum

Howard E. Butt with Desmund Tutu


Introduced “The High Calling of Our Daily Work” radio broadcast that, at one time, was carried on 3,000 stations in all 50 states and led to a major website presence.


Dedicated Laity Lodge Family Camp Program


Dedicated HEBFF Outdoor program



admin_developer Uncategorized

  • I first heard Mr. Butt on a California-based Salem Radio station and, during a difficult path at my my employer at the time, was inspired by his words and the Bible verses he presented. He helped me through that path to a much better IT Security professional today. Now living in Texas, I\'m able to patronize his stores and remember his impact on my life. Requiem en pace, Howard Butt, Jr. Isaiah 57:2
  • I first came to know Howard while living in Asia and reading the daily High Calling reflections, and then the weekly emails. Came to enjoy his weekly posts for their clear, concise & pithy messages...and listening to him narrate them. And hope to visit Laity Lodge with my family in the future when we return to the US. Howard\\\'s legacy will live on and continue, through God, to be a blessing to many!
  • I met Howard in the last decade of his life. I can only imagine the dynamism he exuded earlier. Even then he was something - creative and energetic. The thing I will perhaps remember most was his ability to communicate with you as if you were the only person in the room. He made me feel like a son of his even though we knew each other so briefly. His Christ-centered belief in family and marriage was a beacon to all.
  • How can I ever express my gratitude for Howard Butt, Jr.? His vision for the laity and his living out of that vision by developing Laity Lodge has made a deep, abiding difference in my life. I honestly do not know where I would be without my experiences at Laity Lodge. My annual pilgrimages there helped me experience God\'s presence in very real ways. God bless you, Barbara Dan, Debra Dan, David and all the family.
  • Mr. Butt gave me a job at his foundation for 5 years. He didn\'t know it, but the time I worked for him changed my life for the better. The first time I met him, only after working for him 6 months, he knew my name and my sons name and knew Austin was going to have open heart surgery. He made a point to value human relationships and I discovered the joy in life because of his example.
  • We miss you dearly because we love you deeply. Still, we share the Word cheerfully, in the high calling of our daily work. Amen.
  • Though I never met Mr. Butt, his name was very familiar in my house. My mother Lillian Brown was at Baylor with him and she was known for playing the piano for their \"youth led\" revival meetings. I grew up on the re-telling of these events. I went to Baylor myself years later. Thank you for the positive influence in the culture of Texas and beyond. Generations will be blessed because of his life.
  • My husband, Bill Cody, and I were college students with Howard at Baylor and graduated in the same class, 1947. Across the years we kept in touch and in 1963 when Bill was called to work with laity, he came to work for Howard. In 1965 Bill became Director of Laity Lodge, to stay until 1979. I was greatly blessed by Howard's talks at Laity across all of those years. His messages changed my life. Thanks be to God!
  • Was there ever such a wonderful, unique combination of wisdom and wit, discipline and compassion? Combined with unparalleled ability to lead, inspire, teach, write, and speak. Best of all, always impeccably gracious, warmly hospitable, and wonderfully human and vulnerable. We have all suffered a great loss. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. My prayers of comfort for Barbara Dan and the entire family.
  • My husband Bill served on the Resource committee for Laity Lodge. Our participation in the weekend programs there fostered our spiritual growth and Christian leadership. It was a privilege to be mentored by Howard and be recipients of his vision and participants for change in the community. His ideas and programs will continue to effect the hearts of our communities. Thank you Howard for sharing your gifts and vision!
  • The legacy this man leaves behind is of no small feat. He impacted my life and we will never know the vastness of all the lives that he positively enhanced through his ministries. I'm so grateful for his vision at Laity Lodge and for a "home" I was given at camp and can now pass on to my children. My sincerest condolences to the Butt and Rogers families during this time.
  • Of all the wonderful things that come to mind about Mr. Butt, and I will probably forever call him that, what inspired me the most were his eye twinkle, smile, and booming laugh. It was as if he fully grasped a cosmic punchline that the rest of us only dimly comprehend.
  • Blaine and I are sadden to hear the news of Howard's passing. In a hundred and one ways I am grateful for the day Howard and Blaine met at Baylor. We are privileged to be carrying within us a small piece of his legacy--that our work in the marketplace and in the classroom are blessed and important to the Kingdom. Peace to you all.
  • I am so grateful that I had a chance to come to Laity Lodge several times and sit in that back corner table (right over the freezing air conditioning unit) and enjoy a meal with Howard and Barbara Dan. Every time I was humbled and surprised, and so touched by Howard\'s interest in my life, and his affirmation and blessing of my ministry! What an honor to have shared those meals and shared ministry with such a man!
  • My friendship with Howard began way back in the Layman\'s Leadership Conference where he brought innovative business people together. Howard had a far-reaching influence in his ministry. Our days together at Laity Lodge gave us many memories of music and spiritual growth. Barbara Dan was apart of it all-- what I envision the biblical concept of a helpmate to be.
  • I will always remember Howard as a great encourager. I came to the canyon many times, and every time Howard would challenge me with his piercing intellect and compassionate spirit. But those challenges were always with a view to encouraging me to be the servant that God had called me to be. Howard\'s influence will continue to challenge everyone of us to be good stewards of our time and our resources for the glory of God.
  • Howard and Barbara Dan were such inspirations to the two of us. On my first visit to Laity I had the opportunity to spend much time with Howard as we traveled together between San Antonio and the canyon together both ways. I learned much of his story beyond his book and that experience will never be forgotten. Our prayers and thoughts are with all of the family during this time of grief. Yet his influence lives than God.
  • I am so grateful to the H. E. Butt Family Foundation! The last 4 years our family has participated in Foundation Camp with a group that has been coming out to camp for the last 50 years. It is so great to be part of an intergenerational community with such a great history. Our family has been so blessed by the legacy of this great man. (St. John\'s UMC/FUMC Round Rock camper) May God comfort you in your time of grief.
  • LLYC was life changing and life saving for me when I first went at age 10. Now 48, my own family\'s spirituality grows at LLYC, LLFC, free camp and the lodge, due to your legacy. I am deeply thankful God blessed you with the sensitivity, vision, and strength to transform lives as you have. I was at camp just last weekend and marveled at \"Threshold.\" Peace to you as God carries you across your own, into His eternity.
  • Mr. Butt was a true visionary and his work of bringing together people of different faiths is exactly what our world needs now more than ever. I was honored to have given two days of presentations with my husband Charles Reynard several years ago at Laity Lodge. The people we met there, the beautiful surroundings have remained with us as a cherished memory all of these years. Howard Butt gave us a role model to aspire to.
  • There are those rare people who can make you feel singly important. Mr. Butt was such a man. He could even accomplish this through his radio vignettes. That voice, instantly recognizable, penetrated the air into the heart of the listener providing encouragement and courage. Now he has been released into that place of ultimate companionship and love - sitting at the feet of his Heavenly Father who has said \"Well done.\"
  • I started going to Laity Lodge w/ my parents when I was 18. Even though I was young & mildly combustible, Howard treated me as an equal & sought to have thoughtful conversations with me. Later, when my \"non-churched\" husband started coming, he treated him w/ great respect & they had many engaging and amiable discussions. No topic seemed to be off-limits. Howard\'s openness brought everyone closer to the great Love.
  • I spent many summers in the canyon as a camper and as staff. I\'ll never forget working one summer as a cook, Howard came over genuinely joyfully excited to meet the cooks while we worked - the cooks! He remembered my name every time I crossed his path from that day on. Hupomone!
  • I send my deepest sympathy, Mr. Howard Butt and Family is in our prayers. May God Bless you all.
  • A man touched by God whose life, work, and family has blessed so many lives including ours.
  • Just this past Sunday, the day of Howard\'s death, I was teaching a Sunday school class and recalling how Laity Lodge was the \"Emmaus Road\" experience for me in my walk with Christ. I grew from a faith of my parents and childhood to my own claim of who Christ was through all the giants of the faith that taught me through the years at Laity. Thanks be to God for Howard\'s vision, his friendship, and his faithfulness to God
  • At 14, my youth group from Parkdale Baptist came to Laity. Howard involved my parents in Lay Renewal as speakers. My Dad realized he\'d always identified with the elder brother in the Prodigal son story. Mother found that she was called to be an artist. We all changed and grew. I began my lifelong love affair with God then, which has been enriched at Quiet House and retreats. Howard scattered seeds for us - still is!
  • I am grieved to read about the loss of this great man to us all. A flood of memories of years playing piano at LL retreats parade across my mind. I loved seeing Howard & Barbara Dan sitting together in their big chair in the Great Hall. I am upset that I won\'t be able to attend the celebration service Saturday due to an important previous commitment at my church. Prayers for the family. Bless God for Howard Butt.
  • The world has been forever changed by the authentic faith of Howard E. Butt Jr. I will continue to put into action the truths he has taught me, and I pray that in his passing the massive army of people he has inspired will pick up where he left off. I will miss him.
  • We mourn the loss of a wonderful man. We have been encouraged by the words of Howard E. Butt Jr. many times in the past. We will continue to pray for his family during this time of loss.
  • In the early 90\'s, Mr. Butt gave a talk to the LLYC staff. In it, he repeated over and over the Greek word \"hupomone.\" For 20-something years, every time I\'ve thought of him, I have remembered that word, I remember him kicking out his leg, punching the air, driving the word into us. Sadly, I didn\'t recall what the word meant so I looked it up this evening after hearing he died... It is the perfect word to remember him.
  • John and I are selfishly sad to say good-bye to a man who so exemplified love to everyone he met, but we know he lives now in heavenly glory. Well done good and faithful servant.
  • Lord, I am so grateful for the work of your faithful servant, Mr. Butt. My 4 children spent the best 2 weeks of their lives at Laity Lodge and attribute their deep abiding relationship with Jesus to the many Round-up talks during those 15 summers. The Feast of Sharing in Corpus Christi was an outpouring of generosity to the least fortunate. We know Mr Butt has heard your call--Come my good and faithful servant.
  • The heavy loss the Earth has suffered by Mr. Butt\'s going home to Our Father is Heaven\'s glorious gain. And, that is as it should be. My memory of the sparkle in Howard\'s eyes will always encourage me to do my part to \"transform the world.\" The work of the H.E. Butt Family Foundation has blessed my family and its continued work will bless many others. Barbara Dan, and all the Butt Family, you are in our prayers.
  • I was never blessed enough to meet him, but in my two stays at the Quiet House, I felt his presence and I felt His presence. I found so many answers in so few days. He was \'one of us\', a working man, yet so much more. God led me here. My soul left full. His work on earth is done. He has been called to yet, a higher purpose. Godspeed to all his family and thank you, sincerely, for sharing him with us all.
  • Knowing Howard through the years has been rock for me. There were times in my life when there seemed to be little to hold on to, when I would pen a note to Howard he always pen back a personal note of encouragement. Those notes through the years have meant so much to me as well as the love his family has shown mine. He is home at last.
  • To the community...I am so sorry to hear about the death of Howard...a man of faith, a man with a vision, a man filled with generosity.
  • I had the rare privilege of working directly for Mr. Butt for many years. His books and his ideas showed me just how small my picture of God had been, especially my understanding of the Trinity. Even more important than his ideas, though, was his constant demonstration of hospitality. Whoever you were, he always had a kind word. Whatever your level of influence, he was genuinely curious to learn what God was doing in your life.



Leave a remembrance.


All qualified remembrances will be passed along to the family. A smaller selection of remembrances will be posted above, and may be edited slightly for space or content.

Radio Spots

admin_developer Uncategorized

Selected Radio Spots

Beginning in 2000, Howard Butt recorded hundreds of radio messages that were broadcast across the nation. These 60-second audio and video productions have encouraged millions of men and women across the nation with the simple message that our work matters to God.


Bottom Images

admin_developer Uncategorized