Welcome to SGN Scoops’ Fast Five! This week we welcome the Bates Family. This lively trio has been heating up the Southern Gospel airwaves with “Jesus On The Mainline.” But this group is about more than just great music; each one has a story to tell that illustrates the abiding love and care of Jesus Christ. Read on and get acquainted with the Bates Family!
Tim Bates: The Bates Family has been on the road since July of 1985. We play between 75 to 100 dates a year up and down the eastern seaboard. Since we all still work full time jobs, it’s really hard to do any more than that right now. We have had moderate success in Gospel music as writers and producers with nine radio hits to our credit in the Singing News, SGN Scoops and the Christian Voice. We just really love working in all aspects of ministry. It’s a lot of hard work, but the reward is so gratifying when you see your music touching so many people.
SGN: Please tell us about your latest release to radio. What kind of response have you received from the listeners?
Tim: “Jesus On The Mainline,” is being very well received everywhere we go. People are loving it! I think the reason is really simple. It’s familiar to the listener and it is so much fun to sing. This past weekend in VA we brought the pastor up to sing bass with us. The people just went crazy. Not to mention, it was so fun recording it. We actually brought in a black choir and they killed it! We are thrilled radio is liking it too; that really means so much to us.
SGN: Please introduce us to your group members.
Bates Family: Our group members is kinda like a melting pot of experiences with having a God Encounter at some point in our lives. We’ll start with Tim.Tim was shot in the chest when he was four years old.The bullet severed an artery in his heart in two, powder burned his lungs and damaged his voice box. The doctors said that if he lived through it, he would never talk above a whisper. Today, Tim is regarded as having one of the strongest voices in the Gospel music field. He has also been blessed with the gift of songwriting, having the opportunity to write with some of America’s most talented writers, and having the privilege of artists recording his material. Tim is also an evangelist, holding conferences, youth camps, along with the Bates’ extensive touring schedule.
I’m LaDonna Bates (Tim’s wife). Back when we were expecting Laykin our daughter, we had received some bad news from the doctors telling us that she would be born with some sort of deformity and may even have a form of Down Syndrome because she was so tiny. They highly encouraged me to abort the pregnancy and start over in time.
Naturally, I cried and Tim and I held on to the promise that God was giving us this baby. No matter how she turned out, God would equip us to handle any situation. They warned us when it was time to have her that she may not cry. Well, she came out wailing and hasn’t stopped crying! We took her for annual check up the first year and the doctor had her file there. He just kept looking at her, then at the file. Several times this went on, then he finally took off his glasses and told us that according to her file she should’ve never made it. But she did and she’s healthy as any little girl could be. He said without a doubt that she is a miracle baby. Today Laykin is seven years old and loves singing at least one song a night.
Heather Meade is the latest vocal addition to the group and her testimony of second chances is so powerful.
Heather say, “I grew up in church and we were there whenever the church doors were open. I remember listening to all of the revival
Preachers and evangelists that would come. I always wished for a testimony like they gave; these big, powerful, life changing testimonies of what God had done for them or others they had encountered. My Mama would always say, ‘Be careful what you ask God, cause you just might get it.’
“I had been married one-and-a-half years when we found out we were expecting our first little boy. We were more than thrilled and loved preparing for his arrival. At right about 36 weeks, I began having some severe issues with the pregnancy. The doctors discovered I had a rare form of toxemia called ‘HELLP Syndrome,’and I would have to stay in the hospital until the baby was born. Now, I had strayed from God a few years before and was not in fellowship with Him as I should have been. Little did I know that He would use this to get me back.
“It turned out that I would have to be induced immediately and I was not permitted an epidural. After 25 hours of labor, our sweet little boy was born at 9lbs., 15oz., perfectly healthy. However, I was not. I got to spend maybe 20 minutes with him over the next week and a half. After he was born, I began to hemorrhage and it got to the point where they called a chaplain in along with my family. This was after it was determined that I would have to have emergency surgery to try and stop the hemorrhage and the doctors weren’t sure they’d be able to.
“I remember being wheeled down the hall to the OR, no longer being able to see in color (due to blood loss), and it hit me that I was not where I should be with the Lord! That was the most scared I have ever been in my life! I remember having to give my wedding rings to my husband, not knowing if I’d ever see him or my newborn son ever again, and being more scared that if I died I would NOT wake up in Heaven! Why I didn’t repent right then, I don’t know, but He did. Everything is perfect in God’s time and He ordained every step of this journey. His grace allowed me a second chance.
“He woke me up after that surgery, when there was MUCH doubt that I would. He spared me and not long after, my husband and I both walked the aisle. I rededicated and my husband was saved that day.
“You know, being only 21, I figured I had plenty of time to come back to God. He gave me the knowledge that our next BREATH is not guaranteed and not to take time for granted. I’m so thankful that He not only spared me, but gave me the desire of my heart: to sing and minister for Him. Thank GOD for His merciful grace!”
SGN: What are some of your goals as Gospel music artists?
Tim: We would really like to get into some new areas to share our ministry, and also just keep working hard on our craft and try to get better in everything we do. All we have ever wanted is to be an example of what ministry is….LOVING PEOPLE.
SGN: What is some advice you would give to new artists?
Tim: I would say first and foremost make sure it’s a God thing not a you thing. Second, make sure you have the right people around your ministry that have Godly integrity and character to help advance your ministry to different levels. We have had so many people through the years that have helped us that had these qualities; we just wouldn’t be who we are today with out their perspective and influence. Third, please understand that it’s tough being on the road and not everyone is cut out for it. You will give more than you take and the sacrifices will be great at times, but the rewards are out of this world. And last but not least, remember this a ministry; the finances will always follow the anointing. People want to see your sermon, not hear it, and they will give to a ministry that has moved them.
For more on The Bates Family, visit thei website or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today on the Fast Five!
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