Home Page

Atlanta Christian Business Directory
Metro Atlanta
Christian Concerts
Atlanta Christian Web E-Blast Newsletters
Metro Atlanta Church Events, Conferences & Announcements
Atlanta Christian Magazine Page
Christian Artists
Web Sites
Atlanta Christian Artists Web Sites
Christian Music & Christian Music Videos
Billboard Magazine Current Top 25 Christian Music Chart
Billboard Magazine Current Top 15
Gospel Music Chart
This Month's Top 50 Christian Books
Interviews with Christian Celebrities
Dave Ramsey Financial Peace
Atlanta Christian Web
Atlanta Christian Media Group
About the Editor
Contact Us
Metro Atlanta
Church Guide
Metro Atlanta Christian Schools & Home School Info
Christian Singles
Metro Atlanta Christian
Radio Stations
Atlanta Sports
Gwinnett Braves Express newspaper
Georgia Tech Express Newspaper
Football Atlanta & Georgia Football Magazine
Healthy Living Atlanta Magazine
Southeast Christian Summer Camp Guide

Sign up for Free Twice A Month Atlanta Christian Web E-Blasts. Email acmag@hotmail.com

Sign up to receive the Atlanta Christian E-Blast Newsletter

Concerts & events, artist interviews & more. Keep informed. Subscribe for free today


By Stephanie Ottosen, CCM Magazine

  Todd Smith of Selah on his family's experiences in Africa.

Did your grandparents start the
Laban Ministries?

  Todd: My grandma was raised in the church and was a Christian early on. My grandpa wasn't. He was from New York and went to the University of Michigan and graduated from their dental school. Then he had two successful practices.
  His wife died of a brain tumor, and he was devastated. It was during that time that my great aunt (She wasn't related to him at the time) came into his dentist office and shared the gospel with him. She ran a chapel in downtown Detroit, and she said, 'You should come down and be with us.' He was intrigued that she was a woman leading a chapel service. He said, 'Well, I'll come down at some point.'

  I'm not sure if it was the first time he visited or the second, but he accepted the Lord pretty quickly after that. He was in his mid to late 30s, and it really transformed him. He would share with anyone. When people would come sit in his dentist chair, he would share the gospel with them. He just really got on fire; and, at that point, my great aunt wrote to my grandma, who was a singer (She lived in Pennsylvania). She said, "Would you come up and help me worship? We're really starting to grow here, and we need someone to help lead worship. And also, there's a young doctor here, and he's available." My grandma said, "You can keep him. I'll come up, but he's all yours."

  She came up, and she sang. And the first time she sang, he fell for her. About a month later, they were engaged; and another month later, they were married.

  There were a lot of missionaries going to the Congo specifically.

Was it called the Congo
at that point or Zaire?

  Todd: It was the Belgian Congo. King Leopold had controlled it early on, and then the Belgian government bought it from him (He was the king of Belgium.).

  My grandpa really felt called to go, and my grandpa just told him, "You're just excited. You're a new Christian. You don't really know what you're talking about yet, but pray about it." A couple months later, he felt the same. So, she knew it was from the Lord. They had to get accepted by a mission board. She sent the letter and said, "OK, God, I've done my part; now You do yours. Make sure this never gets there." She did not want to go.

  But a couple months later, they were accepted. Shortly after, they were on a boat. They were self-supported. Back in those days, there weren't a lot of churches sponsoring missionaries. They went out in 1938. My Uncle Jack and my dad were born out there. And later, my Uncle.

  My grandpa's big goal was that, before he died, 10,000 people were going to come to know the Lord. Another dream was to build a Bible college so that he could train the nationals. He saw it as them being far more effective. They speak an average of five languages, and it's their people; so when one of their own is saying to them, "You need to accept Jesus Christ and here's why," it's the not the big missionaries who've got the trucks and has got this... it's one of their own.

  My grandpa, because he was a dentist and came from a wealthy background, he was a big dreamer. So he didn't do things like typical missionaries did. They might have lived in a hut for a while, but then he built a huge brick home. He would build hospitals, and he started three mission stations. The first was Kajeshe, but that's where my dad was raised. There were no missionaries at the time, but he built a church that sat 5,000 people. Missionaries thought they were crazy and said, "This place is never going to be filled."

  It was interesting because my dad and I went back when I was 9-years-old, and the church was so dark because it was so full. People were sitting in the windows, and you could barely see light coming through. It's packed out every day.

  They were there for several years, and then they felt called to start another mission station. It was a desert time. They were there for about five years, and I don't think one person accepted the Lord.

Was this still in the Congo?

  Todd: Yes, it was called Iweungu. Cannibalism was heavily practiced at this time. There was a man who'd heard my grandpa at another town, but he was from another tribe. He had accepted the Lord and come over to Iweungu. Let me give you an example of what a tribe would be like: A tribe would be like Williamson County, and Davidson County would be a completely different country and a different people. If you were to marry, it would be like an interracial marriage. You'd be ostracized. Tribalism is still very strong.

  This man said, "My people need to hear about Jesus. Will you please come and share with them?" Finally, my grandpa went. He visited the largest village of the Bayangi tribe.

  It's very interesting when you look at world cultures, and you study their animist beliefs, there's usually always a human sacrifice that has to happen to appease the gods. In their case, it's to appease the ancestors. It's interesting that there's something naturally in us that knows there has to be a sacrifice to pay for our sins. They would give their firstborn daughters to the witch doctor. The witch doctors would take them down into this village, which was later where we grew up.
  But, at the time, it was a major war area because of the water and the location. It was also where a lot of witchcraft was practiced. They would climb up into a larger tree where they could put hot coals and ashes and lay the child down on them. The idea was that the child would scream, and that would bring the ancestors so that they'd see that the family had given this child. At that point, the witch doctors would cut the babies up and eat them. That was supposed to bring blessings on their crops and families. The tradition of honoring the ancestors, to this day, is very strong. There are a lot of good traditions, but there are a lot of things that destroy them

  If a kid gets snakebite, they'll have to go to a witch doctor and do this and that. Finally, when there's nothing that's curing the kid, they'll bring them to you; and, by that time, it's usually too late. It's really hard to change.

  But anyway, they were sacrificing their firstborn children. But there was a lot of cannibalistic stuff in the sense of, if one village was having a feast, they'd send messages to another village. And one of their best men (and it would be an honor for this man) would go over, and he'd be killed and sacrificed and eaten for this major feast or celebration.

  My grandpa came in and shared the gospel. And he said, "God sacrificed His Son so you don't have to." It made perfect sense to them. By the thousands, they started coming to know the Lord. It started with the chief; he accepted the Lord, and people followed after that.

  My grandpa felt called to stay in that area, and he bought the main area where the lake was and where the sacrifices were. That's called Nkara-ewa-that's our mission station is. That's where the hospital is, where the mission station is. My grandpa moved in there and built two homes.
  So many people were coming to know the Lord that the Belgian government thought this was ridiculous. I think they were more bothered by the baptisms; they thought that had more power than salvation. So, they outlawed baptism for two years. My grandpa continued to share and disciple with my grandma. Two years later to the day, they were going to have their baptismal service. On our recording there's a song called "By and By," (On "Greatest Hymns Vols. 1 & 2) and it's literally my grandpa talking at that and my grandma singing. There were over 1,000 people waiting to be baptized.

  All of that to say, my dad found my grandpa's diary and, at one point, he was just thanking God because he had seen 10,000 people come to know the Lord. Very shortly after that, he was building the home we eventually lived in. He fell through a board, and it broke; and he went headfirst into the cement floor and broke his neck. My uncle, who was 11 or 13 at the time, was the only other person who knew how to drive. He drove about half the way, and another missionary drove the other half. It was only 60 miles, but it took like eight hours to get there because the roads were so bad. He died in Kikwa.

  When he died, my dad was about 11; and my uncle was 13. So my grandma moved them back. My dad went to different schools, and my uncle was killed in a rock fall when my dad was about 16. They moved up to Michigan, and my dad went to Bible school after graduating and met my mom. She very early on knew that because he was a missionary kid, he might have to go back. So, she was scared to death of that. She was a city girl and wanted nothing to do with Africa.

  Fast forward to 1978. My dad was a singer and was just getting to the point where he was able to support the family. He was out in California doing that. Before that, he worked as a music pastor for 13 years in a church in the Detroit area. He was in California; we were back at home.

  We were watching a TV show and smelled something burning. My mom thought it was an iron and later after the show, my mom ran into the furnace room and saw that it had basically exploded. We had a wooden home; it was a kerosene furnace. Everything to burn the home that could've happened, happened. We were so far out in prairie land that the two fire stations argued for 15 minutes as to who was going to have to come out. Once they got there, they ran out of water, so they had to use our little fishing pond. So, we ate trout the next morning.

  I was 5 at the time, Nicol was 8, and Shawn was 10. We just watched it burn up, and my mom was really upset. About three days later, my dad found out what happened. My mom is bawling and saying, "What are we going to do" He said, "I really think God's calling us to go to Africa." He really felt like God was saying, "What about the work your dad started? What about the Bible college?" My mom said, "Give me a week and let me pray about it." After that, she said OK.

  I was really blown away by that. I've got twin girls, who are 20 months. When you're a kid, you think your parents are Superman and Superwoman, and they know what's going to happen next. If we lost everything and said, "OK, we're going to take you and risk your lives to go to Africa," I don't know how I'd react-especially if I didn't want to go.

  But she said she felt like we would be less safe if we stayed in the States-that God's hand would not be on us if we stayed here against His will. And, too, she said, "When I die, what was I going to say? That I got to more shopping malls and hang out with my friends? It wouldn't measure up."

  That was in 1977. In 1978 we went. That was and has always been the main focus of my parents' ministry: the Bible college. It's called Laban Bible College, and they have three of them all under the umbrella of Laban Ministries.

~ from todayschristianmusic.com ~

Selah Releases "Greatest Hymns Volumes 1 & 2" Box Set

  Renowned for their signature arrangements of hymns and inspirational classics, multi Dove Award-winning Curb recording artist Selah returns to their roots with "Greatest Hymns, Vol. 1 & 2." The long-awaited follow-up to 2005's "Greatest Hymns," was released last fall and "Greatest Hymns Vol. 2" quickly rose to the top of the Inspirational charts.
  Now, fans can get both in one box set with an amazing total of 33 tracks.

  Selah is known for its tight harmonies and for putting new spins on traditional favorites. For example, the group has recorded a bluesy version of "Amazing Grace" and gave a distinct pop sound to a "Standing on the Promises" medley.

  "Hymns really resonate with people," said founding Selah member Todd Smith in a phone interview from his home in Nashville. "There's such a depth to these songs when you think about the theology. You have the Scriptures, and the closest thing to Scriptures are hymns. They are melodically, beautifully written, and the theology is deep."

  The group got its start two decades ago by performing hymns during church worship services. At the time, each member had dreams of being a solo artist - one in rock, another in pop and the other in country music. God had other plans, Smith said.

  "Our very first concert was at a church in Nashville. I came and led worship and pastor asked me to do a concert. I didn't want to sing alone so the three of us got together and performed songs we grew up singing. We made our first album primarily of hymns, and every album we've done there's been a base of hymns."

  The new releases is highlighted by brand new recordings of fan favorites "Holy, Holy, Holy," "Wayfaring Stranger," "Wonderful, Merciful Savior" and "Amazing Grace." The 18-track "Greatest Hymns, Vol. 2" also includes a special radio version of "O The Blood" (produced by Ed Cash), from the trio's acclaimed 2014 release, "You Amaze Us."

  The project features an additional 13 hymns from Selah's storied discography. Selections including "Just As I Am"; "How Deep The Father's Love For Us"; "'Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus"; and "In The Garden," are among the group's most popular hymn arrangements of the past decade.

  "Over the years, many people have shared how the hymns we've recorded bring them back to their childhood," says Selah's Todd Smith. "Usually it's a song that a parent or grandparent sang to them. As a kid, I loved singing 'In the Garden' with my family. I hope our version of this song, which we recorded on our 2014 album, "You Amaze Us," will remind listeners of beautiful memories of their loved ones."

  Comprised of Todd Smith, Allan Hall and Amy Perry, Selah is one of Christian music's most beloved groups. For nearly 20 years, the trio's music has brought hope and healing while helping introduce iconic songs of the faith to a new generation. With a career boasting total sales surpassing 4 million album and single units combined, Selah has garnered eight Gospel Music Association Dove Awards--including five Inspirational Album of the Year trophies--and eight #1 singles. Their signature hits include "You Raise Me Up," "Press On" and "You Amaze Us," among numerous others.

  "For us to get to share and sing about our faith, for me that's a very beautiful way for us to share the great commission about Jesus," he said. "I like recording, but concerts are my favorite. You can sense the presence of God and you can see people hurting. There are a lot of people who are suffering or going through something - depression, divorce, cancer, anxiety. The music we sing tends to resonate with people."

  In 2014, Selah released "You Amaze Us." The title track debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Christian Soft AC chart, becoming the first song in the history of the chart to do so. "You Amaze Us" spent a concurrent 12 weeks at No. 1 on the Christian Soft AC chart.

  That same year, Amy Perry and Alan Hall also released solo albums - "Glory All Around" (Perry) and "Work of Love" (Hall).
  And, last year, Todd Smith released his solo CD, "There's A Light."

  And you can Selah in concert on February 24th at Due West United Methodist Church in Marietta. Click on the ad above for details and tickets.

(portions from an article in The Courier)




Go to our John Bevere Page
with a feature story -

Click Here

Go to our Jekalyn Carr page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to our Ryan Stevenson page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to our Lauren Daigle page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Danny Gokey page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to our for VaShawn Mitchell page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Love & The Outcome page with a feature story

Click Here


Go to our Nichole Nordeman page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to our Hillsong United page
with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our for KING & COUNTRY page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Candace Cameron Bure page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Tim Bowman, Jr. page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to Stephen & Alex Kendrick's War Room page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Jeff Foxworthy page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Blake Shelton page with a feature story on
"Savior Shadow"

Click Here

Go to our Matthew West page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to our Tasha Cobbs page with
a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Hillary Scott page with a
feature story

Click Here

Read a feature from our E-Blast Newsletter on Harry Connick, Jr.

Click Here


Go to our Skillet page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Lysa Terkeurst page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Jordan Feliz page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to our Donnie McClurkin page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Charles Jenkins page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Karen Kingsbury page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Natalie Grant page with a
feature story

Click Here

metro atlanta gospel music metro atlanta black gospel music metro atlanta christian music atlanta contemporary christian music georgia christian music georgia gospel music georgia christian concerts georgia gospel concerts atlanta fest atlanta fest 2012 stone mountain park six flags over georgia verizon wireless amphitheatre arena at gwinnett phillips arena tabernacle the masquerade six flags christian music weekend
metro atlanta gospel music metro atlanta gospel concerts metro atlanta christian concerts events

News and Information for the Atlanta church family
Keeping You Up To Date On Christian concerts, conferences, news and more. Atlanta Christian Media

 metro atlanta christian concerts, metro atlanta christian music, metro atlanta gospel music metro atlanta gospel concerts, metro atlanta church concerts, metro atlanta christian artists Metro Atlanta Christian Businesses   Metro Atlanta Christian Business network  metro atlanta christian companies, 104.7 the fish, j93, victory 91.5, metro atlanta christian yellow pages metro atlanta christian business guide metro atlanta christian business pagesatlanta gospel music atlanta churches atlanta christian schools atlanta private schools atlanta christian newspapers
atlanta christian publications georgia christian news georgia christian businesses georgia christian companies georgia gospel music
104.7 The Fish Atlanta            J93.3 Atlanta                 
Praise 97.5 Atlanta            Victory 91.5 Cumming
Shepherd's Guide Atlanta    Shepherd's Voice newspaper   Christian Happenings Georgia    Christian Living Magazine   
Atlanta Christian Family Magazine     Rejoice Christian Magazine     Atlanta Fest  the georgia bulletin  atlanta catholic newspers
Metro Atlanta Christian Schools  metro Atlanta Christian School  Atlanta Christian Education   Metro Atlanta Churches     shepherd's guide atlanta
 metro Atlanta Church     metro Atlanta Christian Radio  metro atlanta christian radio stations  metro Atlanta Christian Academies  
Atlanta Homeschool  Atlanta Christian Publications  Atlanta Christian newspapers  metro atlanta christian magazines  metro atlanta christian magazine  the fish radio atlanta WFSH-FM Radio   The Fish Atlanta    Fish Radio Atlanta   Praise 97.5 Radio Atlanta   Victory 91.5 Radio Atlanta   WWEV-FM Radio  Kevin & Taylor   Safe For The Whole Family   Fish Christian Radio   J93 Christian Radio  metro atlanta christian day camps  metro atlanta church day camps atlanta religious websites atlanta christian websites georgia churches georgia christian schools
kevin & taylor in the morning kevin and taylor in the morning  bill bennett atlanta michael medved atlanta laura ingraham atlanta
sean hannity atlanta rush limbaugh atlanta glenn beck atlanta hugh hewitt atlanta mike gallagher atlanta atlanta fest
celebrate freedom atlanta 104.7 fm the fish the faith, family and friends statio
sandi patty mount paran church of god


(Greatest Hymns Volumes
1 & 2 Box Set)

A soul-stirring collector's set from Dove Award-winning Selah! Known for their unique harmonies, the acclaimed group delivers uplifting renditions of "Be Thou My Vision"; "Holy, Holy, Holy"; "How Great Thou Art"; "Be Still, My Soul"; "In the Garden"; "Just As I Am"; "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded"; "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"; "Amazing Grace"; "Victory in Jesus"; and more. Two CDs.

"Bless The Broken Road"

Selah join with some of CCM's best voices for twelve tracks of soaring contemporary praise. Includes the radio hit title track with Melodie Crittenden, as well as duets with Jason Crabb, BarlowGirl, Christy Nockels (Watermark), Nicole C. Mullen, more.

"Greatest Hymns"

Selah's soul-stirring "Be Thou My Vision" is just the first gem in this treasure-trove! Their cutting-edge gospel arrangements also include "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"; "Precious Lord, Take My Hand/Just a Closer Walk with Thee"; "Amazing Grace"; "By and By"; and more.

"There's A Light"

Founding member of the CCM super-trio Selah, Todd Smith offers his second solo collection on Curb Records. There's A Light is an intimate eleven-song set, including the dad's anthem "Calling All Fathers" plus "Jesus Is," "Right Where I Belong," and others.


Go to our MercyMe page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to our Reba McEntire page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Sarah Young page with
a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Ann Voskamp page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Tenth Avenue North page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to our CeCe Winans page with a feature story

Click Here

Grammys 2017: Rory Feek & Joey, Hillary Scott, Kirk Franklin, Tamela Mann Win Awards

Click Here

Houston brings back memories of family and faith for Falcons'
Jake Matthews
before Super Bowl

- from 11Alive.com -
Click Here

Go to our Atlanta Falcons Vic Beasley page with a
feature story

Click Here

Talking faith, family and football w/ The Falcons' Taylor Gabriel! A great story of overcoming adversity!

- from 11Alive.com -
Click Here

Go to our Hillsong Worship page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Chris Tomlin page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to our Chris Pratt page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to our Lisa Bevere page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to our Travis Greene page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Aaron Tabor "Jesus Daily" page 
with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Donnie McClurkin page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Zach Williams page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Sundance Head page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Crowder page with a feature story

Click Here

Go to our Todd Dulaney page with a
feature story

Click Here

Go to our Crabb Family page with a feature story
Click Here














Music, News and Information for the Atlanta church family
Keeping You Up To Date On Christian concerts, conferences, news and more.
Atlanta Christian Media

104.7 The Fish Atlanta            J93.3 Atlanta                  Praise 97.5 Atlanta            Victory 91.5 Cumming
Shepherd's Guide Atlanta     Shepherds Guide Atlanta   Sheperds Guide Atlanta  Shepherd's Guide Atlanta  
Christian Happenings Georgia   Christian Happenings Atlanta  
Christian Living Magazine   
 Atlanta Christian Family Magazine      Rejoice Christian Magazine   Shepherd's Voice Atlanta
Shepherd's Voice newspaper, Atlanta Fest  Six Flags Over Georgia Christian Music Weekend
Metro Atlanta Christian Schools  Atlanta Christian School  Atlanta Christian Education     Metro Atlanta Churches   
 Atlanta Church     Atlanta Christian Radio    Atlanta Christian Academies   Atlanta Homeschool
Atlanta Christian Publications  Atlanta Christian newspapers   gospel radio atlanta atlanta christian radio stations
WFSH-FM Radio   104.7 The Fish Atlanta    the Fish Radio Atlanta   Praise 97.5 Radio Atlanta   Victory 91.5 Radio Atlanta   WWEV-FM Radio  metro atlanta christian music  metro atlanta gospel music metro atlanta praise music
Kevin & Taylor   Safe For The Whole Family   Fish Christian Radio   J93 Christian Radio  j93 radio  j-93 radio