The Herald Bulletin

March 31, 2013

Easter a time of joy, fun

By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — It’s all about getting the message out.

A partnership of youth gathered at Celebration Church at Arrow Heights in Anderson last week, turning the facility into a beehive of activity to invite the community to the church’s Easter Family Fun Day.

While fun was the operative word, ultimately, the goal was to deliver the church’s message.

“You say ‘resurrection’ — people don’t get that,” said Celebration’s Pastor Mike Thigpen.

A great Easter egg hunt, arts and crafts, food and more draw people in for a day of fun, but it’s also a pathway to touch them spiritually.

“We don’t ever want to compromise the message … Our goal is for souls to be saved.”

Members of Celebration’s youth group, pastored by Damon Golden, partnered with members of Madison Park Church of God’s senior high ministries, pastored by Eric Reeder, to lay the groundwork for Celebration’s fun day, held on Saturday. The church is at 1120 Arrow Ave.

On Wednesday, about 40 youth and adults from both churches flocked into Celebration. Hands quickly got busy stuffing 500 fliers into plastic bags.

“We’re going to take these out to talk about Family Fun Day … and the largest Easter egg hunt ever,” Thigpen asserted. “A thousand eggs!”

“The egg throughout history has been a symbol of new life …. We pray that people’s lives would be changed through Easter eggs,” pointed out Madison Park Pastor Reeder.

Thigpen orchestrated the project where many of the teens met each other for the first time as they gathered around the tables and set to work.

“You attend AU?” a Celebration teen asked across the table as he stuffed a flier into a bag.

“Yeah, I’m in my first year,” came the smiling response from the Madison Park Church youth. That easily, friendships began to form. The fast-paced activity of preparing the colorful fliers got everyone comfortable with each other quickly.

The youth made short work of the project before Pastor Reeder led the group in prayer. Thigpen then separated the group into teams of four, along with an adult. Each group happily set off for a different area of the community to blanket with their fliers.

The whole point was to engage the community and invite them to church.

“This church has always been a community church — black, white, young, old,” said Thigpen.

“Some people don’t have a church,” said DaMarcus Watkins, one of the youth from Celebration Church. Watkins was a member of the first team out the door. And they were the first ones back.

“It was awesome,” said Garrett Spear of Madison Park Church of God, recalling the friendly reception of one of the residents on their delivery route.

Although they didn’t meet up with many people while out on their walk, it was a mission accomplished. The team was treated to cookies, and it wasn’t long before they were out the door to shoot hoops and throw snowballs in the parking lot.

Once all the teams were back and snacked up, they joined in worship. Thursday night, they’d be back to bag up the candy for the event.

Fellowship, worship, service — it’s all part of the message — getting it out there and taking it to heart.

“It’s not just Easter — it’s every day of our lives,” said Reeder.

Celebration Church at Arrows Heights is at 1120 Arrow Ave. Sunday services are at 10 a.m. Bible study is on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. The Youth Group meets on Sundays at 6 p.m.