Spiritual seekers and members from more than 100 area churches are expected to participate in a special Middle Tennessee worship service Jan. 6 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center.
The Gathering 2002 will feature internationally known evangelist Dr. Ravi Zacharias as keynote speaker. CeCe Winans and Michael W. Smith will provide special music, with praise directed by Dallas-based Marco Barrientos.
The service will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. at the same location where the first Gathering drew more than 7,500 people for prayer, worship and inspirational preaching to celebrate the start of the 21st century.
A thousand-voice choir, hundred-plus piece orchestra and special all-clergy choir will provide praise and worship music during the interdenominational service. The event, which is being organized by The Operation Andrew Group ministry, will be held annually on the first Sunday of each new year.
"There is tremendous excitement among participating churches about this second Gathering. We saw Christians come together in an unprecedented way in Nashville during The Gathering 2000, and believe that world conditions make this a very timely demonstration of Christian love and unity," said Jimmy Pickel, chairman of The Operation Andrew Group.
Pickel noted that while The Gathering 2002 service will continue to emphasize partnering among churches and ethnic groups, it will have a greater emphasis on evangelism than the first Gathering.
"At a time such as this, when our world is rocked by uncertainty and questions haunt, The Gathering is even more critically needed. It is my hope that we will hear from God in a significant way and build our hope in Him," said Zacharias, president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
His ministry is headquartered in Atlanta, with additional offices in Canada, India and the United Kingdom. Zacharias has spoken in more than 50 countries and at numerous universities worldwide, notably Harvard, Princeton and Oxford. He also has authored several books.
Zacharias was born in India in 1946 and immigrated to Canada with his family twenty years later. His weekly radio program, "Let My People Think," is broadcast over 850 stations worldwide, and he has appeared on CNN and other international broadcasts. "A Slice of Infinity," his daily radio program, began airing last year.
CeCe Winans is one of the most celebrated singers in contemporary music. She has been nominated 16 times for Grammy Awards, has won four, and also has received 16 Dove Awards.
During his 18-year career, Michael W. Smith has become one of the most influential artists in the Christian music industry, recording 15 albums that have yielded 27 Dove Awards, two Grammy Awards and an American Music Award.
Smith has had 24 number one songs and sold more than seven million copies, reaching platinum and gold status.
Marco Barrientos, an international conference speaker and worship leader, is CEO of Amistad Cristiana International Ministries and Aliento Production Company. He has lead numerous worship conferences throughout the United States and Canada.
The Gathering 2002 is free. An offering will be taken, and any money raised over expenses will be used to help the poor and needy of Middle Tennessee.
More info at Marco Barrientos at The Gathering.
For more information, contact The Operation Andrew Group office at (615) 297-7293.