Jesus is the reason for First Love Ministries.
Charlie Walker founded First Love, after citywide crusades with David Wilkerson and Nicki Cruz in Warner Robins, Georgia, led many youth to a relationship with Jesus and put hunger for the Word of God in young teenagers’ lives. The ministry has had weekly meetings in his home since 1979.
Initially the ministry was a discipleship group with six teenage boys, some of whom had been recently born again. They were Andy Barroso, Jimmy Jernigan, Jay Hanson, Jeff Hanson, Dean Bloom and Jeff Turner all of whom attended Rumble Junior High in Warner Robins, Georgia. Ginger Maddox Orem was the first female member of the group. Others wanted to come so the ministry was opened to all teenagers.
Because people did not want to leave after reaching young adulthood, the ministry changed its policy and now allows anyone of any age to come. First Love has been a house ministry for 35 years and now meets at 623 Pine Ridge Street in Perry, Georgia. The main service is at 7 PM on Saturday nights. The ministry also offers a Monday night Bible Study at 7:30 PM, also at 623 Pine Ridge, and a Tuesday night women’s meeting at 7 PM at Lynda Kelly’s, 905 Washington Street in Perry.
A highlight of the ministry year is the annual summer, weekend retreat to Epworth by the Sea on St. Simons Island, Georgia, in July. This retreat draws between two and three hundred people from across the United States.
First Love is governed by a board consisting of Darren Butler, Brandon Farmer, Carl Farmer, Jarvis Hart, John Hulbert, Lynda Kelly, Nancy Granger, Justin Harmon, Eric Thigpen and Charlie Walker.
First Love also has a board of elders consisting of Steve Keener, chairman; Kyle Barfield, Brandon Farmer, Cody Gibbs, Toni Hart, Mark Hulbert, Paul Hulbert, Ricky Johnson, Zane Pritchett, Travis Spann, Kip Wynne, and Jodi Zammit.
1. We believe the Holy Bible is the Word of God written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
We believe the Word is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We believe in the “full gospel” of the Word. We believe the Word teaches Jesus is the only way and in Him is salvation, deliverance, provision, healing, and soundness. We seek to be doers of the Word, and a focal point of our meetings is our singing the Word, learning the Word, and practicing the Word.
- Psalm 119,
- 2nd Timothy 3:16,
- 2nd Peter 1:21
2. We believe the Lord has divinely set authorities over us.
The primary earthly authority for many we work with is the parent. We do not usurp or violate this authority for any reason. We believe a young person should not come to our meetings or retreats against the wishes of parents. As a ministry, we submit to parental and spiritual authority. We believe there is safety in spiritual authority. First Love has elders who provide spiritual authority. This authority consist of providing counsel and prayer. The authority does not dictate or coerce people but is designed to point the group and individuals to Biblical principles of living.
- Ephesians 6:4,
- Colossians 3:20,
- Exodus 20:12
3. We believe in active participation in the local church.
We recognize that we are a home church, ordained by God, where many of our participants choose to place their membership, but we also encourage our people to stay in and attend their own churches and to have membership in, to pay tithes to, and to participate in the local, more traditional church body of their choice, if they so desire. We are not in competition with other local church bodies and desire to be a blessing to all Christ- believing churches that preach the inerrant Word of God. Around eighty percent of our people are members and attend and are actively involved in a local church. We are nondenominational and our attendees include Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Catholics who are active in their own churches.
- Hebrews 10:24-25
4. We believe in the power of prayer to change things.
- 2nd Chronicles 7:14-15,
- Psalms 72:15,
- Matthew 21:22,
- Acts 6:4,
- James 5:15-16,
- 1st Peter 4:7,
- Revelation 5:8 and 8:3
5. We believe whosoever will may come and we welcome those of different races, cultures, backgrounds, denominations, and ages, and those with specific sin problems who genuinely want to be set free.
- Romans 2:11,
- Luke 5:32,
- Romans 3:10