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First Baptist Atlanta Ministry Shines the Light of Jesus in the Streets

It began with the call of God.

Light Up the Dark Buckhead, a street evangelism ministry of First Baptist Church of Atlanta that serves Buckhead, Ga. on Friday nights, was formed in 2000 by executive director, Karen Norrell. It took a hiatus in 2003 for thirteen years and re-launched in 2016.

Norrell was divinely inspired from a message that the Lord delivered her as she and her friends were reading the Left Behind series to form Light Up the Dark Buckhead in 2000.

“We started a Bible study to learn what God was saying,” Norrell told Atlanta Christian Voice. “We prayed and heard God say, ‘I’m coming back again. Go and tell somebody.’ As I was praying through the different opportunities, I heard God say, ‘Go where the Gospel is not preached.”

There were 32 professions of faith in the year 2000 from the relationships, according to Light Up the Dark Buckhead statistics.

Light Up the Dark Buckhead ministers to people who go to bars on Friday nights in the city of Buckhead. As a ministry, Norell and other members get to know the valets, security guards and other bar attendees.

Getting to know the community of Buckhead at the bars allows for the Holy Spirit of God to work and led in the relationships that are established. There were 32 professions of faith in the year 2000 from the relationships, according to Light Up the Dark Buckhead statistics.

“I just was a part of a team that walked the streets,” Light Up the Dark Buckhead member, Cyndy Baker said. “We walked the streets and talked to homeless people and all kinds of people and passed out tracks. To me, it was cool when someone accepted Christ.”

This group of people are the unreached people group of Light Up the Dark Buckhead.

“We got to know the people over time,” Norell told Atlanta Christian Voice. “They became our primary mission field.”

One of the people who Norrell got to know through Light Up the Dark Buckhead, Selena, was eventually a person that she mentored.

“The impact comes from a person showing up every Friday night. Consistency is the key. We are there to show people that there is a different way to live your life.”  William Todd

Selena was a University of Georgia student who accepted Christ shortly before she met Norrell at one of the clubs in Buckhead. She mentally and spiritually grew as Norell planted the seed of Christ in her and her relationship with the Lord grew.

Over time, Selena gave up unbiblical practices, such as dressing provocatively. She later gave up her job as a promotor at the club.

“The impact is not on the person showing up [at the bars],” Light Up the Dark Buckhead member, William Todd told Atlanta Christian Voice. “The impact comes from a person showing up every Friday night. Consistency is the key. We are there to show people that there is a different way to live your life.”

Another person who Norrell encountered through Light Up the Dark Buckhead, Jennifer, accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior quickly because of Norrell sharing her testimony with her.

“I was able to talk to the young girl of what Jesus did through me to heal me and she received Christ that same night,” Norrell said.

For Baker, the most exciting part of the ministry is when someone becomes a Christian.

“It’s exciting for when somebody accepts Christ for the first time,” Baker told Atlanta Christian Voice. “It makes you want to go back and do it again.”

For Todd, the most exciting part of serving with Light Up the Dark Buckhead is submitting to the will of God as His Holy Spirit leads members to witness.

“If you are thinking about joining a ministry, you need to do what it takes for God to accomplish his will,” Todd said. “You have to ask yourself if you have the faith that it takes to be in a ministry.

To find out more about Light Up the Dark Buckhead’s ministry, visit www.fba.org.

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