Family bond: Father, sons group to headline CrossRoads revival

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Joy will be in abundance next week as CrossRoads Baptist debuts its brand new youth wing and fellowship hall during Life Week Revival services.

Who will among those there help celebrate? The group that is about to be named by Singing News magazine as having the No. 1 gospel song in the country -- The Akins.

"We are so excited to have them come," CrossRoads Pastor Brandon Stanley said. "They're doing so well and it's just going to be a great week."

Church members are excited about getting into their new facilities and seeing the award-winning family singing group that features a father and his three sons on vocals and a number of musical instruments.

Life Week begins Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and continues through Wednesday. The Akins will lead the Sunday services at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., with the father of the group, David Akin preaching both services.

The Rev. Dennis Watson of Harp's Crossing Baptist Church in Fayetteville will preach Monday night and the Rev. Rich Statham of Salem Baptist Church in McDonough will preach Tuesday night. All evening services are at 6:30 p.m.

While The Akins will perform throughout the week, the group will present a full concert on Wednesday evening.

The Akins come from Harp's Crossing Baptist, as does Stanley, who grew up knowing the parents and their sons. He remembers being around 10 years old when David Akin began his ministry in the Fayetteville church and now marvels at his "wonderful ministry." The Akins have been active at Harp's Crossing for 26 years.

David Akin began his ministry in 1988 when his three sons, Dave, Nick and Eli, were children. While leading music at a youth retreat, he met a man whose father was a well-known preaching evangelist. The man told Akin that his father had recently died and shared with him that he knew his father loved him, but because he was in such high demand, he was usually not able to be at home. His eyes filled with tears as he told Akin he wished he could have known his father better.

That night, Akin went to his hotel room and spent time on his knees in prayer. He asked God to give him something he could do along with his family so his three sons would not grow up and say they never knew their father. God answered his prayer and brought together a talented family that has proclaimed the gospel through preaching and in music, winning accolades along the way.

In 2008, The Akins signed with Crossroads Records and released "Good Tired." One critic wrote that The Akins "see God's hand in the everyday things of life and know how to put their particular vision of the master's care into song."

Since the release of "Good Tired," The Akins have been nominated for Horizon Group of the Year by Singing News magazine. The Inspirational Country Music Association nominated the group in four categories: ICM Entertainer of the Year, ICM Vocal Group of the Year, New Artist of the Year and Christian Country Song of the Year for "Good to Know It's Not The End," from its "Good Tired" album.

Late last year, the group released it latest album, "The Akins." The group includes Dave, 28, Nick, 25, and Eli, 22, along with their father, David.

"We all have a desire to make a difference in this world," said Akin. "(We) desire to reach outside the box of religion and be an example to a secular world of what God can do with any life, no matter how messed up it may be."

Everyone is invited to attend the revival at CrossRoads and enjoy the ministry of The Akins and their award-winning music live. While the group has consistently been noted for its work, it will gain another highly prized title when its song, "I Want My Stage to Be An Altar," is named as the top gospel music song in the nation by Singing News magazine in May.

The group also performed at CrossRoads last year.

"God is blessing their ministry so wonderfully," Stanley said. "They're very special to me personally. I believe this week is going to be about encouragement to people. That's just what I feel in my heart, that people are going to be encouraged, built up and strengthened in their faith. That's what I feel in my heart."

CrossRoads usually has two Sunday morning services, at 9 and 10:30 a.m., but the entire congregation will meet together this Sunday morning at 10:30 to kick off Life Week in the almost-finished youth wing and fellowship hall. The church has around 400 in worship each Sunday and the pastor is excited everyone will be able to worship together this Sunday at the start of revival.

CrossRoads, a Newton County Southern Baptist church, is located at 227 County Road 229 in Social Circle.

The church is planning a ribbon cutting for its new youth wing and fellowship hall in late July or early August. The building is presently at the sheetrock stage and the pastor said once it is finished, it will be used for the children's ministry and the youth ministry. The congregation will continue to meet in the sanctuary, which was built around six years ago.

The church is about 9 years old, said Stanley, who has served for the past three and a half years.

"The miracle is we haven't borrowed any money for this building," he said. "The church has raised the money and we're paying as we go. We're thankful for that."

Beth Sexton is a freelance writer based in Snellville. If you have a story idea, contact Karen Rohr, features editor, at karen.rohr@rockdalecitizen.com.