Editorial: Bringing the Bible back to the Bible Belt


Hopefully, no one missed an amazing article in the Index not long ago about 220 students coming to know Christ on a single night in Carroll County.

That article talked about a spiritual shift that is bringing the Bible back to the Bible Belt.

“People are searching for truth,” said Kevin Williams, pastor of First Baptist Church of Villa Rica and one of the organizers of the highly successful Gridiron Day. “We’ve reached a point where people are saying enough is enough. It’s like a switch has flipped and things are going back the right direction.”

The result has been remarkable numbers of Georgians turning to Christ in communities all over the state, including the astonishing move of God among high school football players, cheerleaders and band members in Villa Rica and Roopville, west of Atlanta, at the event they billed as Gridiron Day.

Here's an example of an event that paid spiritual dividends in a way that could easily work in other communities across Georgia and the U.S. Hopefully, other churches will take note and emulate what the congregations in Carroll County have done so effectively. They bathed these events in prayer. They invested financially to see to it that they were done well. They sought out the right men to present the gospel. And the Lord did bless.

Georgians are seeing a renewed boldness among Christians to proclaim Jesus, including Christians who hold prominent positions in the world of athletics.

David Rocker, who played for Auburn University and the Los Angeles Rams, shared the gospel with hundreds of students at Roopville Road Baptist Church Thursday evening. Simultaneously, on the other side of Carroll County, Rich Wingo, who played five seasons for the Green Bay Packers after finishing his college career at the University of Alabama, told hundreds of students gathered at First Baptist Church of Villa Rica about Jesus.

Their messages were strikingly similar: Only Jesus can satisfy people’s deepest longings.

Bryant Turner, executive pastor at Roopville Road and chairman of the Carroll County Board of Education, said his church got involved in Gridiron Day for the first time this year after seeing how effective it has been at First Baptist Villa Rica over the past decade.

Like Williams, Turner is seeing the pendulum swinging back to biblical truth, especially among teens.

At Roopville Road, 70 students prayed to receive Christ on Thursday, as did 150 students at Villa Rica.

The upcoming generation, Williams said, is serious about following Jesus and seem destined to move the nation back to its Christian moorings.

People like Rocker and Wingo recognize that, too, and are doing their part to fan the spiritual fires.

“You can go to the next level,” Rocker told the Georgia student athletes. “You might even play professionally. But if you think this is going to satisfy you, you’re wrong. The only thing that’s going to satisfy you is Jesus Christ.”