It was the late 70’s and I now know a Christian revival was all over this country….But in Marietta, Ga. at Wheeler High School something incredible was happening in a little house in the neighborhood across the street from the school. God was training some remarkable leaders for the future of His Kingdom. Two couples opened the home of Matthew and Sandra Hodnett for a home group Bible study. It was for “the young people” as Mrs Hodnett may still call us, lol. Most would be friends of their children. Carol and Jo Cook were friends and neighbors of the Hodnetts. They co-led the group. I had been invited there by a friend who lived in my neighborhood a few miles away. I had been born again at East Side Baptist church a few months before (like the rest of East Cobb) when Steve Leary’s family invited me to one of their revival nights. I had never heard the Gospel before that night. My family was the one no parents wanted their kids visiting but I won’t go in to those details. It was “good news” indeed so I became a disciple of Jesus Christ that night. Not long after that night at East Side I found myself in the Hodnett’s living room. There were a couple of things I remember from my first night at the Hodnett’s home group. The first was during break while in the kitchen my eye caught a quote on the Hodnett’s refrigerator. It said,”only one life…will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” The second is I received prayer from the group and the Holy Spirit touched me in a way I best not try and describe…but there’s certainly no mistaking… God was there… and He marked me that night.

I grew up without my father and I had no idea how much God the Father loved me even though I was learning to worship Him. I would say the best thing Mrs Hodnett taught us was how to worship. The scripture says God seeks worshipers….those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth…Most churches were still singing out of their hymnals at that time (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but Mrs Hodnett was teaching us to really worship from our hearts and “singing in the Spirit” as she called it. The Bethel worship songs so popular today are the type worship songs she played and sang on her piano. Some time later when a couple of us started playing guitar she turned the worship over to us. She had (has) great faith 🙂 Mr. Cook handled most of the teaching and I still remember his teachings as being some of the most solid I ever heard. I would describe Mrs Cook as a prophetess…Mr. Hodnett was a good christian business man, husband, father and, at times, some comic relief, lol

The ministry of Jesus lasted about 3 1/2 years. The Hodnett’s Bible study lasted 3 1/2 years. Not long after their Bible study ended I went in to what I will call my “prodigal son” years. I can’t really explain why but I think it was mostly because I didn’t have a good grasp of the Love of God for me and/or through me. I also had no idea just how tenaciously He would pursue me, keeping me miraculously safe on several occasions, until I could hear and respond to His call back home in 1994.

Some of the other people from that group began to excel in life while I was kind of working hard at surviving, lol. I was going to give names and titles achieved over the years but my goal in writing this is not to honor the leaders God began raising up from that home group…though the list is long and pretty mind boggling. It was to honor our spiritual mothers and fathers, the Hodnetts and the Cooks . I personally want to single out Mrs. Hodnett. That woman loves me and I know for a fact she has prayed for me for about 40 years. If you have anyone in your life who has done something like that for you then you understand. I understand she’s now on facebook so I will be sending this to her. She and I have been having some great conversations lately. I love her so… I’m hoping some people who went to the home group will give a short testimony here as I have. Thank God for people who answer His call to ministry in whatever capacity. Let’s all be willing to do the same. Because, “only one life…will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Thanks again, Matt and Sandra…Kudos.




3 thoughts on “Hodnett’s Home Group

  1. Wonderfully said Bill. You are indeed a testament to my bible study. When my friends starting with David Baird and Thomas Cooley received Jesus at my home when my mom and I prayed for them I asked my mom and Mrs Cook if I could start a bible study in our home. They immediately agreed with my dad and Mr Cooke jumping in as you said. From that group men and women of our Lord have become ministers not just in the pulpit but in the world in business as I have and others. You were taught not just how to worship but how to see and tap into the power that is our Lord binding and loosing things taking dominion. My mom talk about this a lot. We serve a powerful God whose power is at our fingertips if we only believe and walk forth. You are a true testament to that and yes my mom sees you as her third son just never forget I am her favorite

  2. Oh my goodness, Bill, this is excellent!! Thank you for expressing your thoughts about the Hodnett Bible study…everyone who came can relate to what you said.

    Some of my fondest high school memories are of that special time we all shared in God’s presence. I really appreciate their willingness to pour into us the truths of God’s Word each week. And the worship…Sandra taught us how to worship!! You’re right, Bill, there was a revival going on!

    I’m amazed that even though we couldn’t see it at the time, God was doing a powerful work through each one of us. When you look at all the pastors and ministers that came out of that small group, it’s quite remarkable.

    I’m so thankful to have been one of the ones who got to participate in it. We have so much to be grateful for in our spiritual mothers and fathers…Matt, Sandra, Jo and Carroll…what a precious place they will always have in our hearts!

  3. A wonderful tribute to the Hodnett’s and Cook’s faithfulness and love.

    I too was blessed by the outreach of these men and woman of God. During this revival period, I had become involved with the Youth for Christ movement sponsored by Miss King at Wheeler. It was in those meetings that I first heard of the bible study at the Hodnett’s. It was a blessing to have an alternative to going to a parties on the weekend.

    Honestly, my initial intention for going to the study was to meet a girl. There was a young lady at school I had a crush on and heard she went to the Hodnett’s bible study, so, I hoped to get to know her there. But, God had another plan. During the years of going to the Hodnett’s I was born again, Baptized in the Holy Spirit and learned how to freely worship with all my heart and soul. I got to know many wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lord. Btw, I never met that young lady.

    My story arch follows a similar path, when I started college, I too walked a prodigal and struggling to survive phase until 1993. When I came to the end of myself, the Lord was merciful to guide me to a church in Marietta whose leadership and many of the members had met the Lord at the Hodnett’s bible study. In a way I had come home. I know I was more open to healing and continuing my growth in this setting.

    One beautiful Sunday the Hodnett’s and Cook’s attended service at the church. It was a wonderful reunion. Just some of the fruit of their faithfulness.

    fast forward to today and I remember fondly the weekend nights where I met the Lord through the faithfulness of others. It laid the foundation of the man I am today. And is a big part of my testimony.

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