In 2020 Easter Sunday fell just a few short weeks after the pandemic caused a nation-wide quarantine, forcing most churches to abruptly cancel their Easter plans. With more time to plan this year, churches sought creative ways to connect with their neighbors. Below are a few highlights from churches within the Charis Fellowship. Pray for them as they seek to share the Gospel with their communities.
Grace Community Church, Goshen, Ind.
Grace Community Church (Jim Brown, lead pastor), a Charis Fellowship congregation in Goshen Ind., is expecting thousands of people on their church campus on Easter Sunday. The church has been praying for 10,000 decisions for Christ in their county this Easter, and they hope to play a part in that. They are hosting three services with an outreach event immediately after their third service.
Grace will scatter over 30,000 candy-filled eggs in the field surrounding their building for young kids up through elementary age. For the teens, the local fire department will bring a ladder truck and firefighters will drop theatre box candy from the top of the ladder to the teens below, with cash or gift cards taped to some of the boxes. Everyone who attends receives a raffle ticket for a gift card drawing and bicycle giveaway.
Care and Connections Pastor Mike Silliman said, “We do a lot in the community off of our property, but this is a great way to get people onto our property who might not otherwise attend church.”
Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church, Winona Lake, Ind.
Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church (Kip Cone, lead pastor), a Charis Fellowship congregation in northern Indiana, have planned a variety of Easter service options with hopes of reaching as many in their community as possible. Grace will offer outdoor, indoor, and livestreamed services on both Saturday and Sunday, with guest speaker Dr. Randy Smith, a Bible teacher in the Fellowship. They are anticipating 600–700 people over the weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, Grace will host their service under a large tent. Last summer they hosted a few services outdoors, and they are excited to bring that option back. On Sunday, they will host 2 indoor and livestreamed services, and one service outside under the tent. Following both outdoor services, there will be three food trucks available for dinner, creating a time of fellowship.
The church sent service invitations with meal vouchers to neighbors within a 2-3 block radius, to students at the elementary school across the street, and to Grace College students who are connected with them.
Lead Pastor Kip Cone said, “We wanted to think creatively and do something for our neighbors.”
Grace Church, Wooster, Ohio
Grace Church (Nick Cleveland, senior pastor), a Charis Fellowship congregation in Wooster, Ohio, has planned a unique Easter outreach. In lieu of their usual Easter egg drop, where 100,000 eggs are scattered via helicopter on the church lawn, eggs will be delivered to close to 1,000 homes.
The day before Easter, volunteers distribute 70,000 eggs across the lawns of families who have signed up. Each family will also receive an invitation to attend Easter services at Grace, along with a set of Resurrection Eggs that explain the Easter story in a fun, hands-on way with a link to the video story as well.
Grace Kids Director Tim Boucher said, “We want to be a church that is known for being For Wayne County, that they would know how much we love them and then that they would come to know our Savior Jesus. We wanted to find a creative way to share Jesus’ love in a fun way AND have the opportunity to share the Gospel as well. This event allows us to do both… create a fun, encouraging environment for families AND to hear the hope of Jesus!”
This story appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Charis Fellowship, click here.