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Album a ‘plea to the church… to love the world’
After more than eight years since his previous studio album with original music, Charles Billingsley is set to release his newest solo-artist CD “Never Forsaken” on March 6. A live-streaming concert will be aired on CharlesBillingsley.com, taking place at Thomas Road Baptist Church, of Lynchburg, Va. Both the online and live events are free.
The former preacher’s kid’s recent endeavor is “a plea to the church,” he said in a news release. This new album is a wake-up call to the church, he said in the news release.
“Look beyond the four walls of our buildings and get out there and love the world,” Billingsley said. “It’s just a reminder to us all — God actually loves them as much as he loves me.”
The mantra for “Never Forsaken” is two-fold, with the first concept being love.
“There’s a (book) called the ‘Jesus Story Book Bible,’” Music Director and long-time friend Adam Lancaster said. “We read it to my daughter just about everyday. It describes God’s love as ‘a never stopping, never giving up, always and forever love’ — that’s the love that we are talking about.”
Additionally, the purpose of the album serves as reminder to listeners that “God chose us to share that love,” Lancaster said.
“So whether it’s someone right beside us in our neighborhood, or half-way around the world just trying to live today, it’s our responsibility to meet the needs of these people, physically and spiritually,” Lancaster said. “Charles wanted to make a project ‘for my generation’ to challenge them do more, give more and love more for the glory of God and the good of His Kingdom.”
So, in an effort to show more love, Billingsley decided to partner with CauseLife, an organization dedicated to bringing clean water to those who need it.
“Last summer, Charles and some close friends went on a trip to Guatemala to see what CauseLife was doing down there and how they could help,” Lancaster said. “Charles came back…and the partnership was taking shape. What started out as raising awareness and money for wells has flourished into an entire village project where we are raising money to build houses, a church, school and community center.”
Much of the inspiration for Billingsley’s title track “Never Forsaken” stemmed from his experiences in Guatemala. For him, the song is a call to action for listeners.
“The song ‘Never Forsaken’ is for those people in the world who are hungry, lost, afraid, malnourished, thirsty, who cry out everyday for something called hope,” Billingsley said in a news release. “They won’t hear this album. This record is for the people who will hear it to do something about it.”
The project has been “very fun, fulfilling and rewarding,” according to Lancaster.
“The challenge is to make sure those things don’t cloud the message and that the heart of the artist is still heard in the end,” Lancaster said. “I believe we achieved that with this CD. Album projects are always a lot of fun to do, especially when you’re in the middle writing and creating the thing, and this one was no different. Its something we’re all proud of.”
Billingsley’s recent shift in focus was a result of a personal struggle.
In 2009, an aggravated blood vessel burst, leaving a polyp on his vocal chords. The only option was surgery — a procedure that may not have allowed the singer to continue in his vocal career, according to the news release.
“God used that polyp on my voice to refocus me,” Billingsley said in a news release. “Before that polyp, I used my voice for success. Now I want to use it for significance.”