For Immediate Release- August 22, 2012 This Week at Thomas Road
TRBC Worship Pastor Charles Billingsley presents his 3,000th concert this weekend. He chose Thomas Road’s Worship Center as the place where he wanted to host it. It’s free and starts at 6:00 PM Sunday. With the 20-year anniversary of Charles Billingsley’s national ministry, this is a good time to feature his journey.
Despite being called to full-time Christian ministry in the 7th grade, Charles’ career in music began in an unlikely way, when a high school friend dared him to sing a solo in Sunday School. Though the solo was his first involvement in music, the performance impressed church leaders who later asked him to sing on various occasions. Even as a college student, Charles believed his ministry would be in the pastoral realm, but opportunities to sing continually arose. He performed his first concert the day after graduating from Samford University, and in his words he “never looked back.”
Charles’ diverse career includes performing with countless popular Christian artists. He has performed in over 1,900 churches and served as the full-time worship pastor for both Shadow Mountain Community Church and TRBC. Charles first connected with Thomas Road during the three years he was a member of NewSong, and in 2002 his family relocated to Lynchburg to join TRBC. After moving to San Diego to serve as worship pastor at Shadow Mountain, Charles returned to Thomas Road in February 2007. “It was kind of one of those God moments,” shared Charles. “When Dr. Falwell died three months later I realized why God had called me back here.”
From his acknowledgement that he’s more into sports than music and doesn’t think music ministry is vital to the life of the church at all, Charles defies stereotyping. “Music is not vital, but worship is vital. My job more than anything is to bring the people of God into the presence of God,” stated Charles. “The true function of the church is to love God and to draw others to Him, so the way we function as a worship department here is to try to do that—which means we want to do it with excellence and in such a way that it draws attention to the King of Kings and not to us. My one goal each Sunday morning is to open the door so people sense the presence of God enough in that room that it gives them a hunger the rest of the week to experience that in their personal lives.”
In 2009, Charles’ future in music ministry was threatened by surgery, an operation necessary to remove a polyp on his vocal cord. Though it was a difficult season in his life, Charles says he now values the experience highly. “Every once in a while God brings a bend in the road in which we have to refocus, retool and remember,” Charles said. “That was a good time for me to do that. I had to learn that my voice, my family, even my church are not my source of strength. I had to learn what it is to worship God without a song, a note, a voice. It took me to the bare bones of what worship is, which is why today I think I’m so adamant about our congregation recognizing that worship is not just music.”
Charles’ anniversary concert will feature music from his new album Never Forsaken and celebrate his work from the past 20 years. To learn more about his national ministry, visit http://charlesbillingsley.com, and be sure to join us on, this Sunday, August 26th at 6:00 PM!