Feb 6, 2007

Charles Billingsley returns to Liberty

by Natasha Kormanik, Life! Reporter
Fans of performer Charles Billingsley will be happy to know that he will be returning to Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist Church for the spring semester. He has spent the last 18 months at Dr. David Jeremiah’s Shadow Mountain Community Church in San Diego.

Billingsley’s decision to return to Liberty was made in large part due to his belief that California was not his ideal place to raise a family. “The whole time in California, we were able to accomplish a lot, but in the end I felt like we left our home,” he said. “Home is where the heart is, and my heart is in Lynchburg.”

Billingsley, who became popular as a member of the award-winning contemporary Christian music group NewSong before his career went solo, will be joining artist-in-residence Alicia Williamson-Garcia when he begins work for LU and TRBC starting Feb. 18. “The Lord is leading him back, and we’re happy to have him back,” said Garcia.

Members of TRBC will not have to wait long to enjoy Billingsley’s powerful, melodious voice. After arriving in Lynchburg, he will sing at convocation on Feb. 19.

In addition, according to Lynchburg’s “News & Advance,” Chancellor Dr. Jerry Falwell believes that, with both Billingsley and Garcia, the music programs at LU and TRBC will be enhanced, making this “our best-watched year ever on television.”

Campus pastor David McKinney, who worked with Billingsley for three years prior to Billingsley’s time in San Diego, said that with the artist’s assistance, the music programs at LU will definitely be strengthened.

“He has an amazing ability to influence the 2-yr-old and 92-yr-old at the same time,” said McKinney.
He added that Billingsley’s history and years of traveling have given him an enormous amount of experience and knowledge and a broad range of perspectives to bring to the Worship Department at Liberty.

“He has taken ideas from each church, built relationships with each church and brings a wide, broad perspective of what church worship is,” said McKinney.

Starting this August, Billingsley will begin to train students in becoming worship leaders, allowing students majoring in worship to engage with him in conversation as they explore the meaning and history of worship.

McKinney said that Billingsley, who has an amazing heart for worship and for people alike, will be able to, “train worship leaders to go into the 5,000-member church as well as the 50-member church.”

“We’ll see a guy with a genuine, heartfelt worship attitude,” said McKinney.

Garcia, who has known Billingsley for 20 years, corroborated McKinney’s statements as she said, “He’s got a lot of experience to share with the students and that’s what we’re doing. We want to give the students a lot of hands-on application, and Charles brings that with him.”

Billingsley, however, is still living in California with his wife Shea and sons Caleb and Cooper. He does not plan on moving back to Lynchburg permanently until after his kids are out of school in June.
McKinney said, “We’re very excited to have him back.”

Garcia agreed. “Charles has a sweet family too — we love his wife and children. It feels like family coming home, that’s what it feels like,” she said.

Contact Natasha Kormanik at nnkormanik@liberty.edu.
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