I was raised in a Catholic family where we went to mass “most of the time”. I got my driver’s license and was able to attend alone or with my siblings. My mom requested I bring the weekly bulletin back home as “proof” of my attendance. I would walk in, take a bulletin and walk right back out. I proceeded to drive around to kill time for an hour and proudly present it to my mom of said “proof” I attended mass.
I’ll never forget the day my family joined Peachtree Road. I was very intimidated by such a large church where I could count on one hand the people I knew…and I didn’t know them well. We soon fell into our old routine of should we get the babies ready and go to church this morning or just enjoy the peace at home and sit another service out…again. We usually chose the latter.
About 5 years ago, my world changed. I was lucky enough to get front row concert tickets to one of my musical idols 70th birthday party at the Fox theater. All of the musicians I had revered while growing up were on stage together. During the encore, a foot away from me, my idol collapsed and passed away. I will spare you all the details, but after that I felt lost and disconnected and started thinking about my own mortality and eternal resting place.
One day I got an email about a men’s breakfast at Peachtree Road the next morning. I’m not one to go into a room full of strangers especially at 7:00 a.m. in the morning but I felt this pesky nudge from the Holy Spirit to go so I went. I left that breakfast with the speaker’s testimony changing my life. It reminded me of my challenged relationship growing up with my dad and the path I was currently on with my own family. I decided I needed and wanted to change. I was ready to grow in my faith for myself and strive to be a better spiritual leader for my family.
I’m a guy who went to Georgia and it’s incredibly difficult to imagine anything good coming out of Georgia Tech…until I met Geoff Beakley. During that breakfast, Beakley mentioned a Wednesday morning Bible study. It occurred to me that if I can get there Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. I can probably do it on Wednesday too.
I started attending that Bible study every Wednesday morning. At first, I was a bit unnerved walking into a group of men who have pursued Christ at a much deeper level and for a lot longer than I had; however, that quickly changed as they welcomed me with open arms. I now count them as among some of my closest friends.
After years of friendships consisting of what I call “good time buddies” where our conversations mainly revolved around sports and old movie quotes, this group of men was refreshing to my soul and my spiritual walk. The encouragement, prayers and support we give to each other has made an enormous impact on my life resulting in me feeling called to join the Friday men’s bible study as well.
We have all had difficulties during these trying times. When my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly, Peachtree Road was there to meet with us and help us orchestrate a wonderful service in his honor with little notice and… over a holiday weekend.
Recently, a tree fell on our house and we were forced to find another home to stay temporarily. Not only did Peachtree Road members pray for my family, but a few men wrote personal references which granted us the ability to move into a house without a signed lease or a background check.
While pursuing my faith walk, I continue to see the Father, Son and Holy Spirit at work in my life in many different ways: God-winks, a particular scripture verse will come up repeatedly that helps me in a difficult situation, answered prayer concerns, bearing fruit from serving others or being grounded with an eternal perspective in a society that seems to want everything as soon as possible. This would have never been possible without our family at Peachtree Road.
I am grateful that we have a wonderful place like Peachtree Road where we are inspired by Bill and the associate pastors’ sermons, enjoy our world class choir, and participate in bible studies and small groups.
If you’re searching for a church to belong to or trying to find that right place to begin or continue your spiritual path, don’t let the large congregation of Peachtree Road intimidate you. This church has only become so big because of God’s blessings and all of the love and successful efforts of staff and members past and present which make Peachtree Road such a special and sacred place.
Whether it’s joining a Sunday School class, signing up for a small group, volunteering, or showing up at a men’s breakfast at 7:00 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, I encourage you to take that first step. Who knows, it could change your life in ways you never thought possible. I know it has mine – Jeff Walker