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Giving Easter a ‘Simple’ twist

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Simple Church puts spin on Easter service

Religious organizations throughout Bossier Parish will be celebrating the Easter holiday in many ways this weekend.

From sunrise services to musical productions and egg hunts, the resurrection of Jesus Christ will come alive once again through words, songs, prayer and praise. One Bossier City church, however, is taking the traditional message and giving it a ‘simple’ twist.

“We do our celebrations a little differently,” John Haigler, Executive Pastor of the Simple Church, said. “There’s no right or wrong way to celebrate Easter. We tend to go more of a fun, exciting route.”

The Simple Church is expecting a crowd of 8,000 to 10,000 worshipers to join them at the CenturyLink Center for Easter Sunday services. While they won’t be meeting in an actual church or sitting in pews, the message will still be quite powerful.

“Christ is unstoppable. His mission was destined to happen, but humanity tried to stop him. That didn’t work,” Haigler said. “The Easter message is pretty understood by most people. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. We want people to understand how big of a deal that really is. It’s bigger than just forgiving our sins.”

The message, Haigler said, will ask the audience to look into what God wants you to do with your life. The folks at the Simple Church believe that is to help others.

“We believe our call in life is not about us. It’s about making a difference for other people,” Haigler said.

A Simple Church tradition at Easter is to get the audience involved with the service projects under their ‘Do Good’ mission. In recent years, they have collected socks for the homeless and t-shirts to send to American military troops.

This year, the church will be selling ‘Do Good’ stress balls to raise money for local organizations that work with the developmentally and physically challenged.

“They are going to throw them into golf carts that we’ll have circling the arena floor,” Haigler explained. “It’s just a fun activity we’ve planned.”

The stress balls can be purchased for $5 at the arena Sunday. They will also be utilizing Wham City Lights, a smart phone app that turns sync every iPhone, iPad, and Android device in the venue into hand-held lighting effects, flashing and changing color to the music.

The ‘unstoppable’ message will continue into the following Sunday (April 27) with special guest Mallory Weggemann, a Paralympic swimmer and motivational speaker.

On January 21, 2008, Mallory received an epidural injection to help treat back pain. However, complications with the procedure left the then college freshman paralyzed from the waist down.

Weggemann, a competitive swimmer since the age of seven, chose to return to the pool and has since won numerous awards and holds world records in the sport.

“She had to make a decision – am I done as an athlete or do I press on? She proved unstoppable and learned how to swim with just her upper body,” Haigler said. “She’s a true example of how you can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you. You can be unstoppable with his encouragement and support.”

Follwing the Easter Sunday service will be family fun activities outside the CenturyLink Center. Activities include an Easter egg hunt with 11,000 eggs, photos with the Easter bunny, inflatable activity centers, free frozen treats and face painting.

Easter services for the Simple Church will be held at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday, April 20, at the CenturyLink Center.  Care will be provided during services for babies through preschool 4.  Children and students will attend service with their family.

For those wanting to experience their first Simple Church service, Haigler simply said to “come on out and give it a try.”

“There’s plenty of parking, it’s easy to find,” he said. “What do you have to lose?”

For more information, visit the Simple Church website at www.simplechurch.tv or their Facebook page — www.facebook.com/pages/TheSimpleChurchtv.