When a trip to Sam’s Club became a worship service for millions

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Slade Alday, in black shirt, is joined by others at a Dothan, AL Sam’s Club singing “Our God is Awesome” in a video since seen by more than 7 million people on Facebook. At right is a Sam’s Club employee who joined in, Christian Melton. MICHELLE HOLLAND CONNER/Facebook

DOTHAN, AL — A week ago, Slade Alday and his wife Danielle decided to walk around after polishing off a meal at a Cheddar’s restaurant here. Someone in their party said they needed to go to Sam’s Club. So, a destination appeared on its own.

Until recently, Alday served as worship pastor at Fellowship Baptist Church in Brinson and currently is the worship leader for Bowen Baptist Association. In addition, he’s a member of the Sons of Jubal, a statewide Georgia Baptist chorus made up mainly of worship leaders. The other couples in their group serve as pastors and lead worship at New Hope Family Worship, a nondenominational congregation in Donalsonville.

By the end of the night someone began playing a keyboard at Sam’s. The group began to sing. Others joined in. Someone recorded it all and posted the video. Then, more than seven million people watched it on Facebook.

A time to be together and sing

“It was impromptu,” said Alday. “The Holy Spirit just showed up in a mighty way. In this time when people can’t get along for various reasons we were all together. We were just singing praises to God.”

In the video recorded by an onlooker and posted to Facebook, Alday can be seen in a black shirt while Joy Buczek, a member of their group, plays “Our God is Awesome” on a keyboard set up for display.

“When we were walking around we turned the corner and there were these keyboards,” Alday remembered. “Like any curious musician, Joy wanted to mess around on them and started playing some songs.

“We started singing in our little group and began having a worship time. Our eyes were closed, so we didn’t really know how many people had joined in before I looked around.”

Prior to what is seen in the video, the group had already sung “Total Praise,” “My Life is in Your Hands,” and “Every Praise,” said Alday. By then, he estimated they’d been singing for 10 or 15 minutes before realizing they had an audience.

“I heard people saying ‘Amen.’ So, I turned around and they had their hands raised; some were crying. It was a beautiful moment.”

‘If I be lifted up …’

Those who had joined in asked the group to sing louder. Alday turned on his phone and broadcast it all via Facebook Live.

“A Sam’s Club employee named Christian Melton joined in,” he added. “My, what a voice. She sounded like Whitney Houston. The whole thing ended up being shared on Facebook and trending on Twitter. [On Thursday] a segment about it appeared on the Today Show. Kirk Cameron put it on his Facebook page. ”

When they finished, Alday said people clapped and followed them out the door. He noted the entire experience reminded him of John 12:32.

“Jesus said, ‘If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me,'” he stated. “In that little bit of time the gospel was proclaimed around the world.

“People responded. It was mind-blowing.”

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