Honi Deaton – Musical Skills Mix with Love INC Service

Z-Honi & Jeff

Honi Deaton and her husband Jeff have traveled together as musicians. Jeff currently serves as technical director at Eagle Christian Church, while Honi serves at Love INC Boise. The Deatons still perform around the valley. (Courtesy photo) 

By Gaye Bunderson 

Honi Deaton is so attuned to all things Christian that when she moved to Boise at the age of 15, it took her a while to feel grounded again. It wasn’t that the local community lacked faith. It was just a matter of finding her own place in it. 

From church to school, Deaton had been immersed in walking with the Lord her entire young life. “I was always around church things: attended church, went to a Christian school. I came up here and I thought, ‘What do I do now’?” she said. 

Her Texas grandfather was a minister, and her parents lived out their beliefs. In particular, her mother modeled the best of what it means to follow Jesus. “My mom is a woman of faith. She trusts God and pursues His will with prayer, excitement and joy,” Deaton said. 

Deaton, now in her 40s, long-ago acclimated to her new Idaho home and is giving back to the Gem State in both spiritual and musical ways. But initially, it was faith that carried her and her mother through after they set foot on Idaho soil following a move from Irving, Texas. Deaton and her mom came here with no money and no job. Her mother ultimately got a job at Nampa Christian High School, and her daughter attended school there after Idaho public school attendance. 

Once again, it was her mother’s sense of joy that kept them buoyant in the beginning. “Even through hard and difficult times, she had faith that God was going to help us,” Deaton explained – and He did. 

Now, a close look at Deaton’s life in 2023 indicates she’s learned a lot from her mom. Using her musical skills, she’s worked on the worship teams at Eagle Christian Church and Surprise Valley Church in Boise. She comes from a musical family and traveled in her youth with her mother and an aunt in a group they called Soul and Country. 

Does she personally practice joy as her mother does? The answer is yes – with a bit of an explanation about how all it’s all tied up in Jesus. 

“Joy doesn’t mean you’re not real,” Deaton said. “It means you keep your eyes on Him and hope in Him, and you share His love with others.” 

Deaton married a Georgia man she met while attending a bluegrass festival as an adult. Bluegrass is a type of  American music that was first introduced in the 1940s by people from the Appalachian region of the U.S. Deaton is proficient on the keyboard piano and the upright bass. She sings alto but is modest when asked if she’s a good singer, stating only that, “I like to sing and make people smile.” 

She and her husband, Jeff, don’t just play to entertain – though they have done that, and still continue to do it. For Deaton especially, the art of worship music sits high up on the scale of music she enjoys. “I love worship music, and when I’m leading worship songs, God takes over; I let Him speak to me. I’m grateful for whatever He has given me.” 

At one point in their married life, the Deatons spent 7½ years in Georgia, performing music here and there. But when the Great Recession hit in 2007, they headed to Texas, where her brother is a church pastor. The couple supported him in his ministry any way they could. “Jeff was the tech guy and the worship pastor,” Deaton said, referring to this time as “a training ground from God.” 

“Bluegrass has a lot of gospel music in it,” she said. She started writing gospel songs, and her music was upbeat as the economy went downward. She learned valuable lessons from her sibling as well. 

“My brother is a man after God’s own heart, just like they said about David in the Bible. He’s a good man, and he shared his love for the Lord with me. He taught me how to lead a congregation in worship.” 

Something new in her life is service with Love INC Boise, where she works as the Director of Relations, a position she accepted in February of this year. She started on the board of Love INC two years ago after getting to know Pastor Rod Enos of Southside Christian Center, a church she and Jeff attended after returning to Boise in 2015. Pastor Enos served as chairman of the board at Love INC. Deaton was immediately on board with everything Love INC did. “I’d pray for every event they had,” she said. 

She got to know Kimbra Shaw, former Executive Director of the organization, and said Kimbra wanted her to MC some of the Love INC events; she accepted the invite. “I’d do it on the fly – I’d just make friends with the audience,” she stated, explaining she might see a woman in the front row and tell her something like, “That’s a nice blouse you’re wearing.” The audiences befriended Deaton in return. 

The primary goal of Love INC is to “Help churches help people.” The current Executive Director is Paul Simmons. Deaton was largely chosen for the Director of Relations position for her amicability. “They wanted someone who could make friends,” she said. “The Lord prepared me. I know pastors and am getting to know more.” 

Deaton encourages churches to partner with Love INC to do good for the community. “The Lord is working mightily to create more unity,” she said. “I’m building relationships and mobilizing the churches. I’m helping them be the hands and feet of Christ.” 

For instance, she’s involved with the Abundant Living program of Love INC, serving young single women who might be pregnant, as well as others in need of assistance. “We help with every basic-living thing,” Deaton said. That includes classes to mentoring; child care to the Donation Station, where they can pick up needed items; and GAP (God Always Provides), a ministry that provides resources and services to meet needs that are not being met by agencies or partner churches. 

The program also works with husbands and wives and provides family support. 

The services are open to all, and earlier this year Deaton worked with a Hindu woman, not discouraging her from her own religion but nonetheless being open about hers. “We share Jesus. We’re not judgmental, and we don’t shove it down people’s throats. 

“We’re connecting. The churches partner with us and help to support and integrate people into the church. We’re seed-planting. We do what the Lord asks us; and after that, it’s the Lord’s work.” 

How does this all tie in with her musical skills? Along with her band Honi Deaton and DreamGrass, she also put together a second band for a Love INC benefit event, calling that band Honi Deaton and the Cowboys. She’s still a musician at heart, wherever God plants her. 

Deaton lost her dad early in 2023 and said, “It changed my life in so many ways. You feel like you’re going in one direction and then the Lord says, ‘Trust Me’.” 

Deaton is the mother of three boys: Chase, Beau, and Finn. Along with all her other work, she also gives music lessons and homeschools her sons. Jeff is technical director at Eagle Christian Church. 

About her work with Love INC, she said, “You sure have to like people.” And she clearly does. “God loves people, and I am so excited to be part of an organization that is devoted to sharing His love.” 

Not bad for someone whose first thought in Idaho was, “What do I do now?” 


To check out Deaton’s singing and piano skills, and hear Jeff Deaton play mandolin, listen to Christian Living Spotlight at christianlivingmag.com or at 941thevoice.com. For more information, go to honideaton.com. For Love INC, go to boiseloveinc.org. 


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