With the rich harmonies emblematic of southern America, three women from a small church in rural Mississippi have unintentionally carved out for themselves quite the following on social media.
While the Facebook page for Salem Baptist Church in Lake has just north of 5,000 likes, videos of Natalie Emmons, Nicole Smith, and Kara Smith have collectively garnered more than one million views over the last seven weeks.
During an interview with Faithwire, Nicole likened their surprising success on social media to the biblical story in Matthew 14 of Jesus feeding the 5,000.
“God takes little, bitty, tiny things that we look at, and he has such a greater purpose,” she explained, sitting alongside Natalie and Kara. “Because he can take those tiny, little, bitty efforts, and just like loaves and fish, he can break, and he can bless, and he can multiply. And he will feed the thousands.”
Natalie said their intention was to post encouraging songs — often Gospel favorites — for their own church members, but then the videos started getting attention from people around the country, and even internationally.
In fact, one video of Natalie’s son singing Zach Williams’ hit “Chainbreaker” has been viewed more than one million times and has been shared 24,000 times.
Having the opportunity to inspire so many people during the coronavirus pandemic, Natalie said, has totally changed her perspective.
“To get those messages from those people and you see videos where they’re gathered around watching your videos, and they’re worshipping, watching you worship, it changes who you are,” she said. “It brings it to life.”
“It’s so much bigger than us,” she added.
For Kara, it’s been important to take all of this just one day at a time — a sentiment shared by most Americans during this crisis.
“You’ve gotta keep your eyes on God,” she said. “You’ve gotta keep your focus on what matters, because it’s so easy to get bombarded and so overwhelmed by the news. It’s OK to cut it off. … You just have to take it one day at a time.”
What the Salem Baptist women are offering, Nicole said, is an alternative to all the news we face every day because, ultimately, for those who believe in Jesus, “whatever we face is temporal.”
In the meantime, though, there is a “spirit of anxiety” plaguing the country, she added, and it’s important to remember we “serve a big God” who is “still in control.”
“He will have the final say so, whether it be on COVID-19, whether it be on government, whether it be on politics,” Nicole said. “[God] is just as much in control over the things that are going on now as he was before the pandemic and as he will be after this thing hopefully dies down. He is Jehovah, and he knows.”
To see more from Salem Baptist Church, click here.