At 3:15 on Saturday, Aug. 15 First Baptist Church of Villa Rica opened their doors for a musical extravaganza that was scheduled to begin at 5:00. Pastor Kevin Williams declared, “The church auditorium was packed by 4 p.m., and three overflow rooms were eventually filled as well.”
The people came for an event called The Georgia Gospel Gathering. The choirs of First Baptist Church in Atlanta under the direction of Rodney Brooks, Roopville Road Baptist Church in Carroll County under the direction of Bryant Turner, and First Baptist Church of Villa Rica under the direction of Patty Pritchard joined their voices to present an afternoon of glorious Christian music.
Williams remarked, “The event could not be held without the support and encouragement of the pastors of the three churches and I was blessed that Dr. Charles Stanley of First Baptist in Atlanta and Stephen Peeples of Roopville Road joined me in backing the event.”
First Baptist Atlanta also had their full orchestra on hand to provide the instrumental music for the 350-voice mass choir and the congregational singing. Williams explained, “Rodney is the brains behind the operation; and it was under his guidance that the entire program came together.
“This was the second time we have planned and promoted this event. Last year it was held at Roopville Road Baptist Church; and it has become an annual event. However, we are now in need of more space and a larger venue in West Georgia – maybe someplace like the University of West Georgia University Coliseum.”
Williams added, “The primary purpose of this event is to showcase the choir and orchestra and demonstrate how it can still be used effectively in churches today.
“The choir sang the kind of music that characterizes the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City and Prestonwood Baptist Church in the greater Dallas area. At one point, Todd Childers from Buford Church of God sang with the choir a song he helped to write called “Welcome Home.”
Included in The Georgia Gospel Gathering were segments where the congregation sang some hymn medleys. Patty Prichard explained that there was one medley called “Living He Loved Me” that included not only that hymn, but “Since Jesus Came into My Heart,” “Victory in Jesus,” and “Love Lifted Me.”
There was also a “Heaven Medley” including “What a Day That Will Be,” “Heaven’s Jubilee,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “We Will Understand It Better By and By,” “When We All Get to Heaven,” and “Until Then.”
Williams gave a Gospel invitation at the conclusion of the program and five people responded to the appeal, were counselled, and confirmed that they were making a first-time decision and trusting Jesus as their Savior. The Villa Rica pastor stated, “Out of those who responded, two were guests from Roopville Road and three were guests from First Villa Rica. We have already followed up on each one in an effort to get them plugged into a church family, baptized, and on track to begin their personal journey with Jesus.”
According to Williams the attendees ranged from teenagers, young adults, median adults, and senior adults. The program of music was received with multiple standing ovations. He concluded, “I can tell you that social media was covered up with video clips and comments stating how much they loved the event. Everyone is still buzzing about The Georgia Gospel Gathering days later.”