The energetic pastor of Agape Worship Center will be the second local talent to be featured in this season's ONE Series at the Emma Kelly Theater.
Performing on Nov. 6, Pastor Donald Chavers Jr. wil take the stage at 7:30 p.m. for an interview with Averitt Center board member Ressee Fuller. Chavers will discuss his life and ministry before a brief intermission.
Chavers' performance will include some of everyone's favorite gospel songs and other inspirational music. His performance was originally scheduled for this past spring, but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 virus.
"My take on some good church songs, some good church music, and a few crossover songs," he said of his selections. "I want to tell a story; the story of how every song has a way of allowing you to be vulnerable and open. It gives you the sense that it's safe to really tell your truth."
He says that's what people need more of today — the bare, honest truth without walls.
Among the selections he's planning is "Amazing Grace, and his take on the Sam Cooke standard, "A Change is Gonna Come,' which he will sing in memory of his cousin, Brock Chavers, who was killed in Afghanistan. He will also be joined by his two sisters and brother to sing "I Need Your Spirit."
Chavers is a Bulloch County native and a graduate of Statesboro High School. He is the third child of Donald and Evelyn Chavers Sr., and serves his community as a part of the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Bulloch County and as a commission member of the Creek on the Blue Mile.
With a passion for the hurting, Chavers, who is a baritone, uses his songs daily in his ministry. His melodious voice brings peace during the storm, hope during times of despair and comfort during mourning.
He says that music resonates much longer with people than a message does, and this is why it's such an important part of his ministry.
"It speaks to the part of the soul that a message will just never reach without the aid of music," he said. "I believe it has to be incorporated into ministry to really relay the message that I'm trying to relay to people."
The message Chavers is always trying to share is that each person can be better and that we all can really "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
When asked how he started singing, Chavers laughs.
"Oh, it was like pulling a tooth," he said.
The youth choir at his family church was presenting a program, and he says his mother made him participate. Up until that time, he'd kept it a secret that he could sing.
But it's no secret now — and it's an integal part of Chavers' ministry. He chooses his songs through careful consideration and prayer, and says that it's always about how God can use the song to bring comfort and lift burdens in the given situation.
For Chavers, music is food for his soul.
"It's like a quick retreat, a vacation," he said. "It takes me anywhere I want to go. It's my way of getting away. It's a retreat for me and a way of opening all the way up."
Chavers says that when he's singing, it may seem that the songs are directed at the audience, but in truth, he's often singing to himself.
"I'm being vulnerable in the moment and I'm giving the truth of how I actually feel and see the world, and see God and creation, and how he manifests himself in us," he said.
Chavers wants the audience to walk away from this performance with the assurance that no matter what outcomes are ahead, God will still take care of them.
"As a song needs an alto, a soprano, a tenor, a bass, a guitar player and a keyboard player, we can all still play together in life and make a beautiful song together. We can. We can do that regardless of what the outcome is. I want them to walk away with that assurance," he said.
Performing as part of the series is an honor, Chavers says.
"It's quite the honor, that someone would even think of me," he said, adding that he'll be thinking of his grandparents, who he knows will be there in spirit.
"It's an honor especially to do it in your hometown where you were raised and have lived all your days," he said.
The ONE Series was developed by Georgia Theater Hall of Fame member and former Georgia Southern University theater professor Mical Whitaker, and is sponsored by Brinson, Williams and Groomes Insurance.
Tickets for the performance are $20 for adults, $18 for Averitt members, and $12 for military, first-responders, city of Statesboro employees and students. Seating is limited due to COVID restrictions, and tickets must be purchased at the box office at the Averitt, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, or call 912-212-2787. There will be no online sales.