Frank Jones said it’s the strangest thing, and he wasn’t expecting it — it just came out of the blue.
On a Thursday afternoon in July, Jones was behind the keyboard — a familiar place for the gospel pianist — putting on an event at First Baptist Church Trussville. He was with vocalist Guy Penrod, best known for his 14 years as the lead singer of the Gaither Vocal Band, and Mickey Bell, Christian comedian and pastor of Grace Church in Bessemer.
And much to Jones’ surprise, around 1,300 people were there.
“When we got done that day, I was having a personal conversation with Guy, and [he] thought this kind of thing could … fit a niche,” he said.
And that’s how Oasis was born. The event — featuring Jones, Penrod and Bell — is tailored for seasoned adults, and they’re open to visiting any church that asks.
“Mickey will do a set of comedy, I’ll do a set of music from the piano and Guy will do a longer set of hymns,” Jones said. “We try to make it a lot of fun. It’s not heavy. That’s the reason I chose the name Oasis — an oasis is a place of refreshment, renewal and encouragement. They’re going to hear the songs they’ve loved all their lives.”
The first Oasis was Nov. 1 at Woodridge Baptist Church in Mobile.
“We had a great day,” Jones said.
The next will be Jan. 26 at Alice Drive Baptist Church in Sumter, South Carolina.
Jones said he also will continue to take bookings at churches as well as hosting Oasis events, like an upcoming worship concert at Unity Baptist Church in Marbury on Jan. 29. He will follow that with the Alabama Baptist State Evangelism Conference set for Jan. 29–30 at Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham.
‘Act of faith’
To make space for this new phase of music ministry, Jones stepped away from his role as music associate at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover.
“It’s an act of faith to leave what I was doing there, but I think the Lord will bless that,” Jones said. “It’s given me an opportunity to connect with other churches.”
Bell said he is excited about being a part of Oasis.
“When you have an event that is geared toward a particular segment of people, and in this case it’s seasoned adults, we’re able to really hone in and reach them and encourage them at a level that speaks directly to them,” he said.
“So these events allow us to laugh, they allow us to worship and enjoy some great music,” he noted. “But at the end of the day, we want these individuals to be able to leave knowing that they have had individuals on stage who were there just for them, to speak into their lives right where they are. It’s just really a fun time.”
For more information, visit frankjonesministries.org/oasis.