CHAPEL HILL - A church in Lewisburg expanded to a second location on Depot Street this weekend with an open house on Saturday, and Sunday morning services.
"We are a nondenominational church with an interdenominational congregation," the Rev. Rocky Cunningham says of LifeSong Family Church. "Our worship is contemporary with contemporary music.
"We sing some old hymns with a full band," Cunningham said.
LifeSong Family Church is affiliated with the Church of God, headquartered in Anderson, Ind., and its Tennessee state pastor, the Rev. Dewayne Pierce of Murfreesboro, was scheduled to preach with Cunningham on Sunday in the new church at 206 W. Depot St.
The building has been several churches before the Chapel Hill Christian Learning Center removed the pews to make room for child care services.
Pierce and Cunningham are to deliver a message of dedication during the 10:30 a.m. service on Aug. 9.
LifeSong Family Church of Chapel Hill is an offshoot of the LifeSong Family Church on South Ellington Parkway in Lewisburg. That church will provide pastoral services for the Chapel Hill church during an indeterminate period of time. Pastors Phillip Bennett and Richard Bradford are to assist Cunningham with the leadership of Sunday services on a schedule that will reveal itself as they develop sermon topics for Chapel Hill area residents.
That plan continues "until we put a senior pastor in place at Chapel Hill," Cunningham said.
LifeSong Family Church has plans for more churches in this area of South Central Tennessee. "The plan includes moving into Columbia, Pulaski, Fayetteville and Shelbyville. Come out and join us," Cunningham said with Jeff Ellis, a Lewisburg auctioneer who's serving as minister of men's activities.
LifeSong Family Church in Lewisburg has about 500 active participants and more than 200 children brought to the church.
Another Lewisburg church has found a new home, moving out of their "outdated" building at 810 West Church Street.
The congregation of the Lewisburg Church of God now holds services at the Walking Horse Lodge on the bypass at 9 a.m. every Sunday morning.
"Really and truly we preach the Gospel," says minister Billy Adams. "It's The Word Church."
"It's a new beginning," he continues. "We've got a whole new congregation since I came there three years ago."
"Saying goodbye is hard, but it's time to move on," Adams said, explaining that the building on West Church Street is over 100 years old and has become very expensive to maintain. Spending $1,000 per month on utilities was "stripping our budget," Adams said, noting that his congregation was also a little nervous of coming to the West Church Street location because it has the reputation of being a "bad neighborhood."
Adams, 69, has been ordained as a Church of God bishop, but he's also a leader in another field entirely: "rockabilly" music. He is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and calls himself "a creator of rockabilly music."
Adams and his band, the Rock & Roll Boys, later The Rock-A-Teers, recorded a song Adams had written, the rockabilly classic "Rock Pretty Mama," in 1957.
In 1965, Adams received his call into the ministry, and he began evangelizing to audiences all over America and overseas.
"I was called by the Lord, and it was time for me to do something completely different with my life," Adams says of his decision to enter the ministry. "I didn't even think about what it would mean to me commercially. I was concerned about what I could do to help others find the joy that I had discovered." However, he didn't completely turn his back on the past. "I found that a lot of times, people who'd heard those songs, or knew me from rockabilly or rock 'n' roll, would be fascinated hearing me talk about the Lord. Also, I felt my inspiration to perform and my talent came from God, so it just made sense for me to use everything on his behalf."
He perfected his piano playing, and combined preaching with music to help him spread the message. Adams also continued to write country and gospel songs. He wrote "I Saw the Man" which was a gospel chart-topper for The Happy Goodman Family in 1974.
Interest in '50s music revived in the '90s, and Adams finally got the chance to cut a 17-track album, "Legacy," at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis. The album won rave reviews from many critics, and started Adams on the comeback trail to performances at festivals and concerts around the world.