Throughout the U.S., Foursquare churches marked the arrival of Passion Week with meaningful services and creative events—all designed to help those in need and share the Good News of the Easter story.
For many churches, these intentional outreaches began prior to Easter Sunday. In Fairlawn, Va., Community Life Church organized an Easter dress giveaway at their local public library two weeks before the holiday.
“It was an amazing time to love on our community and give away free Easter dresses to little girls,” Senior Pastor Rod Hidalgo shares, responding to our exclusive survey of Easter activities conducted by The Foursquare Church.
CityLife (also called Ciudad de Vida, East Valley Foursquare Church) in North Hollywood, Calif., began their outreach efforts early, as well. “In the weeks leading up to Easter, we took ‘Jesus,’ some Roman soldiers and others out into our communities to walk the streets with a cross,” Senior Pastor Jeff Tolle explains. “It was an incredible sight.”
CityLife culminated their Easter celebration with two productions of the death and resurrection of Jesus, one in English and one in Spanish. “We saw dozens of people give their lives to Jesus,” reports Jeff.
Many churches also turned to traditional holiday fare such as Easter eggs and baskets to help them minister to their surrounding communities, including several congregations that partnered with local organizations to provide Easter baskets to those in need.
In Knoxville, Iowa, Community Foursquare (Knoxville Foursquare Church) used Easter eggs to invite neighbors to the church. “Our youth group hid Easter eggs in the yards of 12 unchurched families, with a note inviting them to our Easter services,” Co-Pastor Corie Manglos says. “As a result, we were able to share the message of salvation with a number of visitors that day.”
For Summit (Longmont Foursquare Church) in Longmont, Colo., this past week marked their third community egg hunt. “We began holding an entirely free Easter egg hunt at our local fairgrounds,” says Senior Pastor Benjamin Eige.
Attendance at this event has more than doubled in the past three years, from 400 in 2013 to more than 1,000 this year. “It has become such a great opportunity for us to truly love our community while presenting the love of Jesus, who continues to do bigger and better than we can imagine,” Benjamin affirms.
In keeping with the theme of resurrection, several churches marked the holiday with water baptism celebrations, including Oasis (Winchester Foursquare Church) in Winchester, Ky. Pastored by Renny Ross, the church community came together for its first baptisms on Easter Sunday.
“We had the pleasure of baptizing six kids who had made decisions to follow Jesus in the past year,” Renny shares. “Through it, I was reminded that Jesus rose for all of the people that we come in contact with every day. The resurrection power isn’t just one day of the year, but with us always.”
Santa Cruz Hope Foursquare Church in Soquel, Calif., took their baptism celebrations outdoors on Good Friday. “We did a paddle out into the ocean with baptisms,” Lead Pastor Daniel Bennett explains. Two days later, professional skateboarder and evangelist Christian Hosoi shared the gospel at the church’s Easter services.
“We saw 52 people receive Christ,” Daniel says. “Families that we’ve been praying for for over five years came and responded to the gospel—including my neighbors! We were so blessed to see the power of prayer for others to come to know Jesus.”
In Christiansburg, Va., members of The Bridge (Christiansburg Foursquare Church) saw God work as they responded to His prompting to relocate their Easter services.
“As part of a year-long theme to teach our church family to live missional lives, we decided to move our services off of our church campus and into the local community,” explains Lead Pastor Will Fillingham. “We rented out the local middle school auditorium to hold our Easter service and witnessed a 60 percent increase in our average attendance with 20 first-time salvations.”
Around the country, Foursquare churches reported similar testimonies of lives changed this Easter, including Shepherd’s Gate (Macomb Foursquare Church) in Macomb, Ill. Pastor Doug Kuster offers this account of a young woman he had been ministering to: “I asked the Lord to give her an apartment and fill her cupboards with food. Three days later, God gave her a three-bedroom apartment and $700 dollars worth of food. I gave the invitation for salvation on Easter, and her hand was the first one up—without hesitation, she came forward and was saved.”
Members of New Life Community Foursquare (Oxnard Northeast Foursquare Church) in Oxnard, Calif., saw lives transformed at their Easter services, as well. After a message from Senior Pastor Steve Abraham, individuals were encouraged to cross over two bridges the church had built.
“We explained that this symbolized crossing over from darkness into light and receiving Jesus,” Steve shares. “We saw more than 200 people either rededicate their lives to Christ or make the decision to follow Him for the first time. It’s all about Jesus and introducing people to Him. Even if only one person had crossed the bridge to receive salvation, it all would have been worth it.”
Marc Doney, senior pastor of River of Life (Omak Foursquare Church) in Omak, Wash., echoes Steve’s sentiments and sums up the life-changing power of the Easter message. “The story of redemption never gets old,” he asserts. “Jesus is still changing hearts today.”
Image Credit: Header photo by Archer Koch. Used by permission of Daniel Bennett of Santa Cruz Hope Foursquare Church. Embedded photo by CityLife. Used by permission of Jeff Tolle of CityLife.