Christian singer John Waller performs in Social Circle, Madison

National recording artist John Waller, who wrote and performed the theme song for the movie "Fireproof," will be in concert in both Social Circle and Madison in upcoming weeks and everyone is invited to come out and hear the man whose music has reached millions worldwide.

Waller will perform at CrossRoads Baptist Church in Social Circle on Sunday, Oct. 30, at both the 9 and 10:30 a.m. services. He will present a full concert the following Saturday, Nov. 5, at Town Park in Madison from 6 to 8 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

Sponsored by two new church plants, the concert in Madison is designed to introduce Waller and his music to the community while introducing the two new churches as well, according to CrossRoads Senior Pastor Brandon Stanley. Both new churches are in Madison and are CrossRoads Baptist Church of Madison, which is a new church plant out of CrossRoads Baptist Church of Social Circle and Hope Church, which is a new church plant out of several churches, including Centennial Baptist Church.

"Kind of the purpose of the concert is to bring John to the community, his testimony and his music, which is very encouraging ... and secondly to expose these two brand new churches to Madison," Stanley said.

Stanley pastors CrossRoads Baptist of Social Circle and also preaches at CrossRoads of Madison, which meets on Sunday evenings at 6 at the Travelodge conference center. Hope Church meets on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. in the auditorium at Morgan County High School with Matt Alexander as the pastor.

"The Nov. 5 concert is a big deal for us," Stanley said. "The biggest part is we want folks to be aware that these two new churches are planting in Madison and to be praying for those churches and to come and help us."

Stanley has known Waller for many years. The two went to high school together in Fayetteville, although Waller is a few years older than Stanley. He sang in the school chorus with Stanley's sister and the CrossRoads pastor remembers the young singer songwriter was filled with talent even at that age. He remembers Waller coming to his church, Harp's Crossing Baptist, around Easter and singing "Watch the Lamb."

"I remember that," Stanley said. "It's a powerful Easter song about the cross and that's probably my most vivid memory (of him). I believe he went to New Hope Baptist in Fayetteville and believe he's still a member there.

" ... He was very gifted vocally as a high school student and now the Lord has blessed him with a national ministry."

Born in Fayetteville in 1970, Waller was the lead singer for the late 1990s band According to John and stayed with the band until 2001, when its record label went out of business.

The CrossRoads pastor said Waller's "gift is the gift of exhortation and encouragement and it comes through his music in a powerful way."

Waller's music at the two morning worship services at CrossRoads Baptist Church Oct. 30, will be an introduction, the church pastor said, adding that the Nov. 5 Social Circle event will be a full concert and everyone is invited to bring lawnchairs, blankets, family and friends and come out and enjoy the evening.

Waller's song "While I'm Waiting" became the theme song for "Fireproof," the No. 1 independent film of 2008. Starring Kirk Cameron, the movie is about a firefighter and his wife and their troubled marriage. More than 4 million moviegoers saw the movie when it hit theaters in the fall of 2008. Waller's song quickly jumped into the Top 100 chart on iTunes.

After Waller left Fayetteville and his band According to John in 2001, he and his wife Josee moved to Colorado where he helped launch SouthLink Church, becoming worship leader at the Free Methodist church. In an interview with Christianity Today, Waller said he had "closed that chapter in his life" and went a year without writing any songs. Just as he had decided to "give up the music business," he began feeling more inspired to write songs.

His congregation loved the music he began writing and encouraged him to make a CD -- believing so much in his talent that they raised the money to finance that CD. His ministry grew from there and Waller released his third CD in the spring of this year titled "Declare." Waller has toured with Casting Crowns and Leeland, as well as other top Christian groups.

CrossRoads Baptist Church of Social Circle is located at 227 County Road 229 in Social Circle. Town Park is just off the square in downtown Madison.

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.