It was a very different environment at Home Church Stettler after the Easter Sunday service, one that had definitely drawn kids from Stettler and area community on April 16.
Equipped with nerf guns, the kids attacked a huge blue Easter egg, which kept moving from one end of the hall to the next.
“At Home Church, we recognize that not everyone has a church background or will even be comfortable with the idea of church. We want everyone to feel at home, so we get creative in order to help people break away from whatever it is that keeps them from thinking ‘church is not for me,’” said Shawn Acheson, pastor of the church. “Our Easter experience included many elements like Communion on Good Friday, baptisms on Sunday, all with good explanation of it so people can see that these things and church itself are not a series of Christian rituals, but a life-giving relational connection with God and others who are seeking the same.”
Easter egg hunts are a common theme at all kinds of public events at Easter time, but because Home Church is located right along Main Street, there’s no open field or yard to set out eggs and create an experience that way.
“What we do have is a little creativity and a lot of kids who are into Nerf, that’s why we built a giant Easter egg costume, bought 1,200 Nerf darts, and turned our egg hunt into a more literal affair,” Acheson added.
Before the Easter service, however, a record number of baptisms took place.
“It was wonderful to share the experience of baptisms on Easter Sunday with the congregation and with those getting baptized,” Acheson explained. “This is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, we couldn’t think of a better day to experience the figurative death and resurrection that is found in the baptism experience.”
According to Acheson, the Easter message this year was designed to help skeptics and believers alike consider and explore the evidence and facts surrounding the life, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
“Was it myth, or is it real? This is for each person to decide, but not without honest exploration of the evidence and a willingness to follow it wherever it may lead,” Acheson stated.
Home Church is an Alberta-based church that is active in 16 nations around the world. This week, Acheson and his team are launching the first ever Home Church in the nation of Myanmar, after which they will head to Nepal to train more pastors and leaders in many remote locations.
“Many people don’t realize that things like basic human rights, freedom, opportunity, education and more are often absent in many of the exotic nations of the world,” Acheson said. “Discrimination, poverty, abuse and more are often acceptable and even unnoticed among themselves. Societal conditions like these are the results of the belief systems that are central to that society. The common axiom ‘you can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results’ rings very true, and that is our motive, to help local leaders at all levels of society establish new beliefs and attitudes that will create new actions in their societies that will better reflect hope, love and freedom for everyone.”