[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Lauren of Lauren’s Southern Gospel Views From the Pew.]
Saturday night I made my way north to a small church on top of a hill where the Whisnants were singing that night. They were scheduled to be in Pottsville, Ark. at Pottsville Freewill Baptist Church that night. Pottsville is a small town of about 3,000, so as you can imagine, the nightlife leaves something to be desired. And for a small town and a smaller church, thankfully many of the people of Pottsville chose to attend a gospel concert on Saturday night.
The Whisnants opened the night with “We Are So Blessed.” I love that they chose to open the night with this song. They have an incredible blend on this song, and it really sets the tone for the night. Then they sang the familiar “Gloryland Way” and had the audience sing along. This would be the first of many songs that they had the audience join in on. If you liked sing along events, this would have been your type of concert! Jeff was featured on “We’ll Meet Again” next.
Jeff welcomed the audience and said that he hoped we would all grasp the message of the songs. If we know Jesus, we can have a hope and rejoice with them tonight and help them lift up His name. He said they were from Morganton, NC, a part of the country where you could shake a tree and a southern gospel group would fall out! Haha! He then introduced all the members of the group.
Susan told the audience about advice her mom had given her one – If you’re going to worry, don’t pray, but if you’re going to pray, don’t worry. This led into “I’ll Pray for You.” She invited everyone to sing along at the chorus.
Aaron was then featured on “He Can Move that Stone.” Love this song from their project That’s Why We’re Here. Jeff mentioned that the song was #2 for two months in a row. Even though it never made it to #1, that’s still a great accomplishment! They then sang the familiar favorite, “King Jesus Is Coming,” that really got the audience clapping along!
They then introduced the Whisnant sons, Austin and Ethan. They had both been part of a camp meeting in Texas all week, and Austin was not feeling well and had lost his voice. But Ethan came up and sang “Strange Way to Save the World.” He is really coming on strong as a young artist with his voice! There was no track just Austin playing guitar, which really allowed him to showcase his vocals.
Susan then started a cappella singing of “God Is So Good” and “Oh How I Love Jesus” and had the audience join in. Susan talked about the love of God and how there is nothing that we can do to make Him love us less or nothing about us that He doesn’t already know. She said that she’s never seen a time when so many people are broken. When people give up on each other, God will pick us up and put us back on the potter’s wheel. This set up perfectly, “I’ll Trust the Potter’s Hand.” This is one of my absolute favorites! Love to hear Susan sing this song!!
Jeff said that we can trust Him because He is alive and well and sitting at the right hand of the Father. They then sang “He’s Living Today.” Next, Aaron was featured on “I’m Trusting the Blood.” This is another favorite of mine! They ended the first half with “New Day Dawning,” which of course got everyone out of their seat and clapping along!
To start the second half, they sang “He Keeps Me Singing” and their “Ready Medley.” Again they had the audience join in. I loved that about the night. They wanted the audience to worship and sing right along with them. It wasn’t about them singing but about people lifting up the name of Jesus.
They pulled out “Be Not Afraid” next. I’m glad to see them still stage this song. Aaron did a great job on this one as always! Then, they asked about people who had July birthdays and made them stand. I’m not sure if someone let it slip from the church about someone’s birthday or what, but they sang to all of them.
After a fun “happy birthday,” they pulled the focus back. Susan said what a good night it had been. She said if you run out of people to pray for to pray for them. They face trials and struggles just like we do, but when He is all you have, that’s when we find He is all you need. She talked about her struggle to want to fix things, but there are things that we all go through that no matter how hard we try, we can’t fix. However, with God all things are possible. She said if it all falls apart, God will still be God, and we can say “all is well.” This song (“All Is Well”) was probably the highlight of the night for me. I say this a lot, but this really is my absolute, top favorite song that they sing! Susan always sings it with such conviction and conveying every lyric!
Jeff talked about losing his dad and finding out that his parents had been in a car accident. He got a phone call from someone who knew no details other than they had been in a wreck. He was two hours from home, and his heart just sank. The more details he got, the more he realized things weren’t good. He said it’s one thing to tell people how to get through their valleys, but sometimes God calls them to walk through the valleys to help them reach people and makes the songs even more real. Jeff led in a time of invitation as we sang “Just As I Am.” It was a sweet time of worship to end the night on.
The Whisnants are such sweet people! I love seeing them when they come to Arkansas. It was a great night of worship where above all else it was clear that they wanted the name of Jesus to be praised, and that’s what it is all about!