After two years of virtual worship services due to the Covid-19 pandemic, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church is reopening its doors on Good Friday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. with internationally renowned faith leader and best-selling author Bishop T.D. Jakes and award-winning gospel artist John P. Kee.

New Birth’s reopening activities, called ‘The Return’, will culminate on Resurrection Sunday, April 17, with Senior Pastor Dr. Jamal Bryant and celebrated gospel artist VaShawn Mitchell beginning at 9:30 a.m.

All planned events will take place at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, located at 6400 Woodrow Rd in Stonecrest.

“We are beyond thrilled to return to in-person worship services, to re-engage with our congregation and to welcome visitors who are thirsty for an extraordinary encounter with the Lord,” Bryant said.

“Bishop T.D. Jakes is a global force and one of the most prolific voices in ministry. We are truly blessed to have him join us for our Good Friday service with the legendary John P. Kee. We are equally excited that gospel sensation VaShawn Mitchell will join us as our guest psalmist on Resurrection Sunday.”

Throughout the pandemic, New Birth has advanced innovative ways to engage members and enhance its online ministry as well as its outreach activities.

The King’s Table, New Birth’s food pantry, was launched just two months before the pandemic and would serve 300 people each month.

With the financial impacts that accompanied the global crisis, The King’s Table saw those numbers skyrocket to more than 3,000 people weekly at the height of the pandemic and is quickly approaching a major milestone – 1 million people served during the pandemic.

Similarly, the Stonecrest ministry’s online viewership exploded and welcomed parishioners near and far.

“Shifting to an online worship experience really forced us to recalibrate our approach to ministry and rethink our outreach methodology. Honestly, the challenge now is getting people out of their pj’s and eating their pancakes while streaming service on Sunday morning. Resurrection Sunday will mark my first time preaching with all of our members in the sanctuary in more than two years during my three years at New Birth,” Bryant said.

During the weekend events, The King’s Table will also host its weekly free food distribution on Saturday, April 16, at 10 a.m. on the church’s campus. All distributed items are provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

New Birth initially planned to welcome parishioners in-person on New Year’s Eve but a spike in Covid-19 cases prevented the reopening effort.

Now, with a statewide decline in Covid-19 cases and a rise in Covid-19 vaccinations, the church’s leadership identified Easter weekend as a perfect opportunity to welcome members and visitors back into the 9,000-seat sanctuary.

“We are encouraging people to come as they are and enjoy a weekend of fellowship and worship here at New Birth. No need to worry about fancy clothes or shoes this or any Sunday,” said Bryant. “Just plan to be amazed by God’s presence as we return into the house of the Lord.”

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Martel Sharpe serves as the Director of Public Relations for The Atlanta Voice. He has been with the organization for three years. Martel began his time with The Atlanta Voice as a freelance writer before...