Bald Rock Baptist hosts Gospel Explosion at Rockdale Auditorium

Bald Rock Baptist hosts Gospel Explosion

The Bald Rock Baptist Church Recording Choir will be one of the several groups performing at the Gospel Explosion. (Special Photo)

The Bald Rock Baptist Church Recording Choir will be one of the several groups performing at the Gospel Explosion. (Special Photo)

Live at Rockdale County Auditorium this month will be Gospel Explosion 2014. Featuring musical artists and groups from around the region, Gospel Explosion is expected to draw hundreds of people to the auditorium at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23. Sponsored by Bald Rock Baptist Church, this is the third year for Gospel Explosion.

“The place is almost filled to capacity each year,” Bald Rock Pastor Christopher Shipp said. “The auditorium seats 600 and each year we have had it almost full.”

Master of ceremonies will be radio personality Larry Tinsley. Regarded as one of America’s top gospel announcers, Tinsley is a recipient of the Stellar Award as Gospel Announcer of the Year. As host of the Sunday Morning Praise Show heard each Sunday morning on WVEE-FM/WAOK-AM in Atlanta and WBAV-FM in Charlotte, N.C., Tinsley is well known in the gospel music community.

“He’s the type of radio announcer who is real smooth,” Shipp said. “He’s a cool DJ. He’s very relative and a person who is down to earth. He’s going to help us with announcements.”

A native of Tennessee, Tinsley graduated from Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn., and went to work in Knoxville as an on-air announcer for WJBE Radio, which was then owned by soul singer James Brown. Tinsley has been in Atlanta since 1971, when he moved here to accept a job as an on-air announcer at WAOK. He was named program director in 1981.

Shipp said Bald Rock Baptist is excited to have Tinsley come to Conyers for the church’s big annual event.

Among the groups Tinsley will announce for Gospel Explosion will be the Bald Rock Baptist Church Recording Choir; the Atlanta Chapter Choir from the Georgia Workshop of American Mass Choirs; Beulah Baptist Church Men’s Chorus; Springfield Baptist Church Dance Ministry and many other church groups and individual artists.

“Beulah Baptist Church in Decatur has a men’s chorus with more than 100 men,” Shipp said. “They are awesome.”

Gospel Explosion has become a tradition for the Conyers church, thanks to the dream of one of its late members.

“Mother Gloria Greene came up with the idea,” Shipp said. “It worked so well, we wanted to do it again. The Lord called her home last June. She was making contact calls in her hospital bed. Nobody knew she was so sick. We wanted to carry on in her legacy.”

Gospel Explosion is a pre-celebration for the church’s upcoming anniversary, Shipp said.

“It’s like a pre-church anniversary musical,” he added. “Our anniversary is the second Sunday in November.”

Bald Rock Baptist will celebrate its 153rd anniversary this year. Shipp has led the historic church for the past 17 years.

The pastor said holding Gospel Explosion is a way to encourage fellowship and to serve the finances of the church. Tickets for the event are $10 each. To purchase tickets ahead of time, call 678-598-4951. Bald Rock Baptist Church is located at 2284 Old Covington Road in Conyers.

The concert will be held at Rockdale County Auditorium located at 903 Main St. in Olde Town Conyers.

Bald Rock Baptist Church was founded around 1861, and is Rockdale County’s first African American congregation. As early as 1883, Bald Rock was one of the first churches to hold church school in the area. The original Bald Rock Church structure is located on Costley Mill Road at the Georgia International Horse Park and is now an historic site. Bald Rock Baptist Church has been at its current location since 1994.

Beth Slaughter Sexton is a freelance writer based in Walton County. Contact her at bethslaughtersexton@gmail.com.