By ROGER ALFORD
The Christian Index
JONESBORO, Ga. – Members of The Old Paths gospel quartet know the exhilaration of having No. 1 hits and of being ranked by Singing News Magazine as one of the top southern gospel groups in the nation.
They also know what it means to be physically worn out from taking the stage night after night, singing their hearts out, then climbing aboard their bus to get to their next engagement to do it all again.
“That’s how life is on the road,” said Tim Rackley, one of the founders of the Georgia-based group and a member of First Baptist Church in Villa Rica. “You come in, kiss your wife, do your laundry, and leave again. But we love it. It’s definitely a passion and a conviction. You’ve got to have both to do this.”
The Old Paths – Rackley, Douglas Roark, Daniel Ashmore and Steve Ladd – will get a respite from the road on Nov. 8-9 when they will be singing at the annual meeting of the Georgia Baptist Convention at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro.
Rackley said the quartet is excited about ministering to Georgia church leaders who will gather for the annual meeting. That meeting is expected to draw more than 1,000 people from across the state.
“There may be pastors there who are dealing with overwhelming issues in their churches,” he said. “They may be feeling discouraged. They may feel defeated. We want to be able to encourage them, to lift their spirits.”
The quartet is known for its encouraging lyrics and upbeat music. Their last No. 1 hit was Come Sunday Morning, an uplifting song that tells of Jesus’ death on the cross, that on Saturday it seemed all hope was lost, but how “everything changes come Sunday morning.”
As Rackley’s pastor at Villa Rica, Georgia Baptist Convention President Kevin Williams had the connection needed to get the The Old Paths for the annual meeting.
The Old Paths quartet took its name from Jeremiah 6:16 where the Old Testament prophet urged the people of his day to “ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein.”
Their initial project in 2012 produced two No. 1 hits, Battlestand and God’s Great, within a six-month span, and they were named Favorite New Quartet by southern gospel fans.
Along with their own songs, members of The Old Paths sing some of southern gospel’s greatest hits, hymns, and contemporary Christian music.
“I don’t want anything to dictate what the Lord really wants for our ministry,” Rackley said. “As long as it’s Him guiding and leading, we’re going to do it. If we feel like there’s a song out there that has a message and we feel like we can make it work for the quartet, we’ll sing it.”
Williams said the annual meeting is chock full of outstanding preachers and singers.
“Anyone looking for inspiration will find it in Jonesboro,” he said last week. “We’ll, of course, take care of some business along the way, but this will be a time for Georgia Baptists to refocus on Christ. It’s my hope they’ll come away from the annual meeting energized and eager to get shine the light of Christ into their communities.”
Preachers will include Pastor Ken Bevel from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Pastor Kyle Walker from First Baptist Church in Cartersville, and Pastor Herb Reavis from First Baptist Church in North Jacksonville, Fla.
First Baptist Villa Rica’s worship leader, Mark Camp, along with the church’s praise team and celebration choir will also be singing.
Georgia Baptists who arrive a day early can attend an inspirational rally that begins at 6 p.m. on Nov. 7. The rally will include music by Scott Allred and the Jonesboro Worship Ministry.
For more information about the annual meeting, visit https://gabaptist.org/events/gbc-annual-meeting/.
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