VIDEO: Following the Faith
Dallas-area pastor puts trust in a higher power – and Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits
Pastor Fred Thomas is all about the flow.
“If you’re not flowing through life, you’re not living. You’re just existing,” he says. “You have to embrace the flow.”
And when you do that, he believes, you’ll get where you need to go – even if it’s not at all what you expect.
Hence, his passion project: the Laugh Out Loud church.
“I never knew the power of laughter until I started doing this,” he says. “I’m telling stories, and people can connect with those stories. But what they don’t realize is that laughter is helping them. It is the best medicine.”
Laugh out Loud Church
Ministry has always been a part of Thomas’ life. Raised in a Pentecostal church just outside of Dallas, he has been an ordained minister for more than 20 years – preaching to congregations big and small, through music, through sermons, through testimony.
These days he’s building a ministry of storytelling and laughter.
Pastor Fred doesn’t consider himself just a comedian; he’s more of a storyteller. But for a specific audience. “If you haven’t ever eaten a fried bologna sandwich, you probably won’t get my comedy. If you don’t make cornbread in a black cast iron skillet, you may miss me,” he says. “If you haven’t ever had to go outside and get your own switch off a tree, you may move on.”
His first online video – “It Ain’t No Fun Being Fat” – came out in 2014. A star was born, and – with it – Thomas’ Laugh Out Loud Church.
Now, he has more than 40,000 followers on social media. His videos normally hit a million views. It’s a whole different kind of ministry.
“When you talk about things, real issues, people respond,” he says. “Laughter gives people a gateway to deal with issues, and that’s a good thing."
One of his most popular posts was “There’s Something About this Biscuit,” a riff on the Rance Allen Group song “There’s Something About the Name Jesus.”
“It just happened,” he says. “The stuff you plan doesn’t work well. It’s the unplanned stuff people really enjoy. That’s that ‘flow’ thing.”
Thomas is a Whataburger regular, normally ordering up a Whatachick’n Sandwich, fries, and a large Root Beer. But the first time he ate a Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, he was inspired.
“I don’t know if it was the biscuit, the chicken or the Honey Butter, but it was like somebody’s grandmamma was back there making chicken and biscuits,” he says.
He parked in his driveway right when he got home, still licking Honey Butter off his fingers, and started singing.
“I heard from so many people when that came out,” he says. “A lot of people really love that biscuit too.”
He’s a celebrity at his local Whataburger now and is recognized regularly just around town.
“At the store, everybody’s like ‘That’s the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit guy! Sing for me!’ And then I get home, and it’s ‘Wash the dishes. I need the white clothes put in the dryer,’” he says with a laugh.
And that’s how Thomas likes it.
“A lot of people are chasing the money, chasing the fame, but I just want to live well,” he says. “I just want to live good and bless people.”
And eat Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits.
Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dobson gave his restaurant a name he hoped to hear customers say every time they took a bite of his made-to-order burgers: “What a burger!” Within the first week, people lined up around the block for his 25 cent, 100 percent beef burgers served on five-inch buns. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 820 locations in 10 states with sales of more than $2 billion annually. Visit www.whataburger.com for more information.