The History of Voices of Faith
In the beginning God spoke to Minister Gary Hawkins, Sr, then a member of Hopewell Baptist Church, to begin a ministry in Stone Mountain, Georgia, which led to a Bible Study class beginning February 8, 1994 at Brownsmill Recreation Center.
On August 21, 1994, Voices of Faith was birthed, its first service held at the Greater Life Baptist Church in Decatur. Eighty-two devoted family members and friends came to worship. After two services, Voices returned to Brownsmill Recreation Center from September 1994-July 1995. Kirk Franklin served as our Minister of Music. We must have played that cassette over and over again!
July 16, 1995 Rockbridge Road Baptist Church opened its doors to Voices of Faith where we worshiped until October 21, 1997. While there, the congregation grew to well over 200 members and once again, Voices of Faith found itself in need of a church home.
October 21, 1997 Voices began a two year wilderness period worshiping in Stephenson Middle School in Stone Mountain, losing many members. Pastor Hawkins remained faithful and committed to God’s call, as a result, God blessed VOF to purchase 20 acres of land and erect a 6,000-square-foot sanctuary. The 75 member congregation held its first service on July 25, 1999.
To God’s glory, by December 5, 1999 the congregation multiplied tremendously, thus a second and third service was added, unfolding God’s plan to build the City of Faith. The 40,000 square-foot Family Life Center opened for worship in June 2002 to serve the more than 5,000 faithful, spirit-filled members and visitors who showed up each Sunday.
In January 2004 a ground breaking ceremony was held for the VOF Christian Day Care. The center provides childcare and schooling for infants 6 weeks – K4 in a Christian and safe environment. The center officially opened November 2004.
Then God said, let there be the “City of Faith” in Rockdale County, and on July 18, 2004, 90 people showed up to witness the first service conducted at Rockdale High School. Also, during this time, God elevated Pastor Hawkins and he was consecrated as Bishop on November 9, 2005.
In December of 2006 VOF successfully completed construction of its second location and was now facilitating three services in two counties. Voices of Faith Ministries made history in Rockdale County as being the first African American Church to be built in the county.
When God saw what He had done and said it was good He sent VOF to Clayton County where the South location was established, January 2007, with Pastor James T. Murkison being the first son at the helm. This location has seen study growth in Lovejoy through its outreach efforts. Pastor Murkison is known for his charismatic flair of preaching that reaches all ages from young to season.
Then God said it is not good for the ministry to reach Georgia alone and in July 2008, VOF launched its fourth location in Baton Rouge, LA, the hometown of our spiritual leader, Bishop Gary Hawkins. Bishop Hawkins always had a desire to go to Baton Rouge, LA (his hometown) to plant a church. He knew that with updated technology, it could be done. VOF Ministries was able to purchase a retail shopping plaza in Baton Rouge which houses a church with a seating capacity of 500. Now we are one church with four locations. Voices of Faith (Baton Rouge) held its first service on September 7, 2008, with approximately 300 in attendance and 57 became new members. Within one month the total membership grew to 107.
Honoring God’s mandate to be fruitful and multiply, VOF North was birthed in Gainesville, GA July 2011, with Apostle Roderick Hughey accepting the charge. This location is thriving and taking the city one member at a time. VOF North is known for its radical heart-throbbing Worship service that reaches a young to mid-age generation that is on fire for Christ. The youth ministry hosts over 200 teens and young adults weekly with their own worship service.
God is not ready for Voices of Faith to rest just yet! In August 2012, the baton was passed to Pastor Carlos Marshall as Voices of Faith East was birthed in Suwannee, GA, marking this as VOF sixth location. Pastor Marshall is reaching the surrounding areas with his innovative style of teaching/preaching.
As with any ministry, Voices of Faith has seen its share of challenges, yet God brought us through them all. The Baton Rouge, LA church was sitting in hurricane alley. Each time it stormed, the plaza was hit, facing damage beyond repair. But through it all, God showed favor and blessed Voices with an opportunity to swap the old building with its new sanctuary with the first service being held on September 15, 2013 with over 200 people in attendance, including notable community leaders and some city officials.
Accepting the calling for yet another location, passing the baton to Pastor Vincent Harris, Voices of Faith Newton was birthed as the seventh location, holding its first service Sunday, April 20, 2014 (Easter Sunday) at Middle Ridge Elementary with almost 100 people in attendance. This charismatic prayer warrior, teacher-preacher has taken Newton County by storm!
On June 7, 2014, for the first time in the VOF 20 year history, the anthem of the house is raised, releasing a Stellar CD that is sure to reach the depths of your soul. This Live in Worship CD produced ten amazing songs, in which three (You Kept Me, Where is Your Faith, In the Right Place) were written by our very own overseer, Bishop Gary Hawkins, Sr.
On Sunday, June 8, 2014, our Overseer, Bishop Gary Hawkins, Sr., officially named Voices of Faith Ministries as Voices of Faith Nation!
Each year, during the month of June, all locations (Stone Mountain, Conyers, Lovejoy, Lawrencville, Georgia and Baton Rouge, Louisiana) come to the Mother Church (Stone Mountain) for the annual Homecoming Tailgate Celebration. Over 100 tents are placed on the campus and families are cooking, eating, playing games and enjoying lots of laughter and fellowship.
Growing a great ministry for the kingdom certainly has its setbacks. For a brief moment, the Baton Rouge location was in search of a fulltime Pastor. After several months of prayer, in search of a pastor to fulfill the call for this location and with a number of interested applicants, the elevation came from within. God led our Overseer, Bishop Gary Hawkins to name and ordain Minister Brandon Buckley, a member since 2009, the official pastor of Voices of Faith Louisiana’s Baton Rouge location. On September 14, 2014 this blessing came with years of experience of walking in leadership. Pastor Brandon Buckley’s musical style of praise and worship, mixed with the oracles of God brings a fresh sweet savor to reach a generation seeking to know Jesus Christ. Elders and Leaders from the mother church traveled to Baton Rouge with the Overseer and First Lady Pamela, to participate and witness this laying-on-of-hands sacred ceremony. There were close to 250 members and visitors in attendance to also witness this awesome elevation in the kingdom.
On September 24, 2014 the official “Where Is Your Faith” video went viral. This dynamic project was filmed by Voices of Faith Media Ministry and included participants from our Mass Choir, Living Faith Drama Ministry, Dance Ministry and members of our congregation. These up and rising actors and actress blessed the kingdom with their unlimited gifts and talents. Also featured in the video is our very own Overseer, Bishop Gary Hawkins, First Lady Pamela and psalmist Letecia Miles of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Still believing in God for a Stellar Award for an awesome project “Live In Worship” Voices of Faith unanimously voted to promote the hit single “Where Is Your Faith” which has been climbing the charts since its release.
It is Voices of Faith Ministries ultimate goal to please God in every area of this journey therefore, continuing to carry out the church vision: “To reach and disciple the unchurched with love and simplicity,” VOF has launched more than four dozen ministries to serve the surrounding communities, to include two daycares, a Christian Academy, faith plaza and much more.
In the September 2014 Outreach Magazine The American Megachurch Outreach Edition, Voices of Faith Ministries ranked 73 of 100 largest churches in America! Voices was also featured as one of the churches with the most locations. Today, Voices of Faith Nation is one church in eight locations, with a total membership of over 13,000 and growing!
To God Be The Glory!!!
VOF – Stone Mountain, Bishop Gary Hawkins, Sr.
2500 Rockbridge Road SW
Stone Mountain, GA 30087
Sunday: 8:00am & 11:30am
Wednesday: 12 noon & 7:00pm
VOF – Conyers, Bishop Gary Hawkins, Sr.
1290 Sigman Road
Conyers, GA 30012
VOF – Baton Rouge, Pastor Brandon Buckley
3515 North Sheerwood Forest Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Sunday: 11 am
VOF – Lovejoy, Pastor James Murkison
11622 – Hastings Bridge Road
Lovejoy, GA 30228
VOF – Lawrenceville, Pastor Carlos Marshall
470 North Clayton Street
Lawrenceville, GA 30046