By Tom Jones, Executive Director

Easter is a huge opportunity for Stadia church plants to reach people who don’t know Jesus. As anticipated, God showed up in a big way over the weekend. Check out these reports from our churches and be encouraged by what God is doing through church planting. Then join us in praying for the next season of work still left to be done. Because we won’t stop until Every Child Has a Church! 

Header photo credit: The Segura Family Shooters

 

Easter 2018 at Stadia Church Plants

“We had a good resurrection celebration yesterday with 624 in attendance. As always on Easter, we celebrated with these words from the book Colossians Remixed: “In the face of a culture of death, a world of killing fields, a world of the walking dead, Christ is at the head of the resurrection parade transforming our tears of betrayal into tears of joy giving us dancing shoes for the resurrection party. And this glittering joker who has danced in the dragon’s jaws of death now dances with a dance that is full of nothing less than the fullness of God. This is the dance of the new creation. This is the dance of life out of death. And in this dance all that was broken, all that was estranged, all that was alienated, all that was dislocated and disconnected, what once was hurt, what once was fractured, is reconciled, comes home, is healed and is made whole.”

Thanks for believing in us enough 11 years ago to play such a huge part in making this faith community called Crossings a reality.

Mark Nelson
Crossings (Knoxville, TN)

 

“On Easter Sunday we saw God do this:
– 17 Baptisms
– 502 Baptisms total in our history
– 2,065 people worship Jesus (400 more than our previous record)
– First ever Español Sanford worship service
– First ever Point Worship service in the Chapel!
– 53 people at the Urdu Sunrise Service
And Sooooo much more!

“’I won’t forget the things you’ve done. For I know that this is just the beginning and You’re not finished yet… You’re not finished yet. Until I see your promise come, I keep believing that your not finished yet.’ – The Belonging Co (You’re Not Finished Yet)”

Chris Hankins
The Point Church (Raleigh, NC)

 

“Easter was incredible!! We had over 650+ people celebrate the resurrection with us at Wake! We were extremely happy and grateful for such a great Sunday! The big “win” for us was that we were able to host and sponsor the Easter egg hunt for the community Oak Ridge North. We hope to see some harvest come from this partnership.”

Josh Gosney
Wake Church (Spring, TX) 

 

“We had 344 with 1 baptism and 2 rededications. It was an awesome day!!”

Crockett Davidson
Vintage City Church (Hickory,  NC)

 

“Easter went well and it was great to get our first one under our belt. With it being only our 3rd week as a church, our coach cautioned us that our numbers wouldn’t jump. Many of our attenders went to their parents’ and grandparents’ Catholic churches for Easter. We had 87 people total. Some amazing stories …

1. Our relationship with the school we meet in has been a little tense. They’ve never had a church rent their space before and have had some people complain about us. We’ve worked really hard to be the Church to the school in the meantime. Yesterday, we had a new custodian. (She must’ve drawn the short straw to work on Easter.) She sat in the entire service and was moved to tears hearing about the hope that Jesus gives. In the middle of service she found me on the side of the auditorium and asked me to pray with her. It was awesome!

2. We had multiple families who have been disconnected from a church for a long time ask about becoming members at One Church. One family said their kids actually are the ones who are pushing for them to get ready on time in the morning to make sure they get to church.

Brandon Stephenson
One Church (Pittsburgh, PA)

 

“Amazing Easter. 295 in attendance and 6 baptisms. Some fantastic stories of death to life in amongst those baptisms. So honored to be a part of what God is doing in DC!

Chris Moerman
Grace Capital City (Washington, DC)

 

“Sunday was an incredible day! 5 baptisms! Blown away by what the Lord is doing through Foundation.”

Clint Nolder
Foundation Christian Church (Newnan, GA)

  

“Easter at Lifepointe was incredible! We saw over 1,500 people attend our three services and 22 people made first-time decisions to follow Jesus! It’s an exciting season of ministry for Lifepointe, and I can’t wait to see where God leads us. Thanks for your encouragement and continual support!

Nate Siemon
Lifepointe Christian Church (Fort Mill, SC)

 

“We had 756 at Velocity. We have baptism Sunday this coming week.”

Scott Pugh
Velocity Christian Church (Cleveland, OH)

 

 

“We had 183 in attendance and 8 proclamations of new faith.”

Martin Cachero
Risen Church (San Diego, CA)

 

“We had 140 in attendance at Bridges.” 

Patrick Norris
Bridges Church (Winston Salem, NC)

 

“Easter was good. With mostly 20-somethings and college students, half our people “go home” for Easter. Then we get a good number of new/infrequent folks. In the past month, we’ve had 4 baptisms and more kids than we’ve ever had.

“Two cool Easter moments:

  • A teacher from the school we meet at had given up on church. She came with her sister and their kids.
  • A young woman named Jess who was baptized on Easter a year ago talk about the significant transformation she has experienced in the last year as she has been discipled and has found family in Missional Community. A year ago she found her way back to Christ and now she is co-leading a mission team to Honduras!

“Bigger gathering is this coming weekend.  C3 turns 5.”

Ben Thompson
City Campus (Columbus, OH)

 

“We had 1,124 in attendance and 1 baptism. Garfield Heights Campus = 252; Twinsburg-Macedonia Campus = 363; MoChurch.tv (Online Church) = 509 devices”

Dan Smith
Momentum Christian Church (Cleveland, OH)

 

“Yesterday was another great day of celebrating the risen Savior. We had quite a few unchurched first-time guests who were invited by regulars. I’m praying for about some people who attended yesterday who showed up as total skeptics of the Gospel. By God’s providence, I preached an apologetic message about the resurrection, and it moved them to really consider digging in more. This may be my favorite part of church planting … seeing people who were once far from God now introducing their friends to Jesus! I’m proud of the friends who brought them as they follow up and help their friends find faith in Jesus. We also had 2 baptisms yesterday!! Eddie is in his 50’s, has been with us for about 3 years, and finally submitted to Jesus! Kalia is 13 and has been through a lot. She comes from a good family but the divorce of her parents has really hurt. Her mom has been studying and praying with her for a while and yesterday she said she was ready to be a new creation. I’m so happy to see her finding hope in Jesus.

“Thank you for reaching out and loving on Stadia church planters.”

Chris Woolard
Venture Christian Church (Wilmington, NC)

“We had 310 people were at Axis on Easter. A great day of celebration. We have a big VIP weekend next Sunday.”

Stephen Sams
Axis Christian Church (Mason, OH)

 

“We had a record setting Easter for our new church. 190 in attendance, with tons of new families that our people invited. God was glorified and we are thankful. I pray that your Resurrection Sunday was great as well!”

Cody Balch
Good News-Powell (Powell, OH)

 

“It was an amazing day. 101 precious souls made decisions for Christ. We had the highest attendance in our 15 year history. And the New Day family stepped up and made our first attempt at having 3 services look easy. God was glorified and the name of Jesus was exalted.  Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Ed Moreno
New Day Christian Church (Corona, CA)

 

“We had 170 adults and 46 kids in both services.

Daniel Atondo
Eden Church (San Jose, CA)

 

“Our number was 168.  Last year we had 200 and were in a theater that held 250. Then they put in the big recliners and we lost 40% capacity.  This year we started 2 service 2 weeks ago in a theater that holds 105.  It’s time to get a building.”

Scott Haulter
Catalyst Church (Oak Ridge, NC)

 

“Our Easter worship gathering was very encouraging. We had 60 guests at our Good Friday worship gathering and another 126 worshipping with us on Easter Sunday. A few stories:

  • Recently a woman reached out to me looking for prayer and help for her mom who has lived with addiction for decades. She had fallen while using and had been life-flighted to a regional hospital. Well, 13 staples in her head and one week later, she was with her daughter at the Grove and had the chance to meet one of the women who has helped lead our recovery ministry. We don’t know where this story will go, but we are encouraged about the fact that Lisa survived her ordeal and is now open to learning more about Jesus and getting help for her addiction.
  • I had breakfast with a gentleman in his sixties this past week. He told me, “I am so grateful I found Jesus before my cancer so I know I wasn’t just running to Him because I was sick.”
  • I am excited that our non-profit community advocacy organization called “Here for a Reason” has gained some significant traction in the last couple of months. We are now piloting a new weekend food distribution program for three of the neediest schools in our school district. We distributed over 1,200 meals in our first weekend and have had several hundred students sign up for repeat weekend meals! We are continuing to raise support for that organization (Here For A Reason) through area businesses and have most funds in place for our next food packaging event this coming fall. Now we are looking to start raising financial support for the spring event in 2019. Starting Here for A Reason has continued to open doors for our ministry at the Grove. Through now being a part of the Lackawanna County Food Coalition, we are now able to use the Grove Church as a host site for their summer food distribution for North Scranton. That will mean kids in North Scranton who are looking for free lunches will come to the Grove property potentially 5 days a week.  We are praying God allows this to be a new way to engage families around North Scranton long term.”

Scott Hall
The Grove (Scranton, PA)

 

“We had an amazing Easter Celebration with over 115 in attendance.”

Stanley Peterson
Monmouth Christian Church (Monmouth, OR)

 

“Thanks for asking and for praying for Epic Christian Church!
-6:00am Sunrise Service: 40
-10:30am Service: 107
-1 baptism
God’s blessings to the Stadia Team!

Jim Herzberg
Epic Christian Church (San Tan Valley, AZ)

 

“Great day at Thrive! 21 first time decisions for Christ. We also gave away 161 Bibles this year! Every kid and teenager got a brand new Bible. And, every person received a little shoe on a key ring, with the name of a student from the Elementary School that we’re giving out 364 pairs of shoes to this Thursday and we asked them to pray for that student.

Jason Raitz
Thrive Church (Mount Pleasant, MI)

 

“Second Easter service at M3 since we planted. What can say but I’m in Awe! Christ will build his Church in spite of us. Our first goal was to see families and generations come together to make sure the Gospel continues to spread to the next generation. Second goal was to help them continue to develop in their faith. Well I’m proud to say those goals are being met. Our worship is growing leaps and bounds but the cool part is I know all their stories of being broken and redeemed. The best part is we are a missional church, and it starts at the dinner table. Alex Absalom told me when we planted that the most effective ministry is at the dinner table. That is true. My son’s girlfriend joined us for lunch over 5 months ago. Once she joined us she came to church and then got baptized after that. As soon as she got baptized she has not missed a Sunday. Now she’s doing slides and bringing her sister to church. On Easter her mother showed up and can’t believe she is at our dinner table ever week. To all my Stadia family, the dinner table is powerful for ministry. I guess that’s why Jesus did it. Don’t forget the table:)”

James Gray
RiverTree – Lake Campus (Alliance, OH)

 

“We had 350 in one service with some baptisms coming up. It was a good time with lots of visitors. We are currently raising money for a day care and a community center, working in collaboration with the local government and other agencies. We are seeing growth and are increasing in passion and community outreach. Current average attendance just over the 200

Dan Dix
Outlook Christian Church (Reno, NV)

 

“We had a wonderful Easter. We had 265 in attendance, the best day in attendance I think we’ve ever had. This marked the first Easter after our renovations of the old sanctuary. We combined congregations in 2017 and have been doing ministry and services in a very outdated space. The renovations plus the uniting of the congregation have been a wonderful momentum maker.  We’re very excited about where things are and where they’re going. We have a baptism Sunday scheduled for April 15th, so praying for that day to be a great day as well. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.

Jeff Henson
The Crossing @ BCC (Tulsa, OK)

 

“We had 943 and lots of great stories coming in.”

Jeremy Brown
Journey Church (Jackson, TN)

 

“We had an all-time high attendance for our 15th Easter. 1,347 attended over 5 services. We just finished launching our campaign “Trusting the Promise” to fund a building expansion (750 seat auditorium & some remodeling) and launch a 2nd campus … all by the end of 2020! Thanks for all Stadia does!

Andy Hudelson
Wellspring Christian Church (Spring Hill, TN)

“Good to hear from you and as always I treasure the encouragement you and the Stadia team have been to Westline! We had an outstanding Easter celebration with 220 total people and 1 person commit to be baptized. We now have 5 people signed up for our baptism celebration later this month! Praise God for all the incredible stories I continue to hear on Facebook from Stadia Churches!!

Story:

‘When you spend time studying and even practicing other spiritual disciplines, it’s amazing how much you learn about your own true path. I spent years searching and studying, trying to find what spoke to my heart. Periodically falling back on the religion of my heritage, Christianity (even in its most esoteric form), I would drift off again when I did not feel any fulfillment or spiritual stimulation. I don’t feel comfortable calling it God’s grace, as I would not presume to know this for sure, but I feel that my engagements with various religious practices is what solidified my Christian faith. I prayed before false idols, believed in my own holiness, and looked to deity in multiple forms through “spirits in nature.”

‘It wasn’t until I walked into yet another dead end that I realized there was a truth, one who came over 2000 years ago, walked as we walk and made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Yes, even for someone like me. Someone who for decades turned away, argued against and refuted His name, only to find that His love was greater than any of my sins. I once identified as a Pagan, prayed as a Muslim, looked inward to a personal self-aggrandizing power, studied witchcraft and meditated with burnt offerings as a Buddhist. These experiences, I believe, are what I personally needed to go through in order see the only true love of Christ and to ask for God’s presence in my life. I would take whatever I read on the internet about the nature and history of Christianity to be truth without any further research. When there was that turning point in my life, when my back was against the wall, that I found myself directed by the Holy Spirit and refocused my energy to research into the work of God for myself.

‘I soon became addicted to hearing other believer’s stories of grace in their life and also about the deeper studies of the Christian faith, from Archeology to scholarly debates. My research turned to prayer, which then grew into a deep feeling of love. There was a personal relationship now, closer than anything I had ever felt before. Just thinking about it continues to move me emotionally. I walked through the woods and was in awe of every nuance of God’s creation, the arguments for science became proof of our Creators design.

‘When I was raised from the water in Baptism, I felt washed of everything I shared at the beginning of my story, all of my short comings and setbacks, all of the darkest days, the false and empty ritual and confusing sadness. I continue to study and question, but now it’s with the love of Jesus on my heart. When I hear about someone struggling, emotionally, spiritually or physically, my heart and my mind are immediately directed to the healing power of our Creator. I want to share the good news of Christ and how it can transform their life and give them hope. When you have an experience that not only changed dramatically how you feel inside your heart, but also when you witness God’s grace affect others in the same way, it’s hard not to share these experiences. I think about the disciples and their time of struggle and doubt (John 20:29), of how powerful is the love of Jesus that those who are thousands of years removed feel the strength of his love. God’s grace allowed us to breathe our first breath, and through his son we have been gifted eternal life.’”

Brad Prunty
Westline Church (Glen Ellyn, IL)

 

“Easter was great at Rise City. We had a record attendance of 1,292! We had 17 give their lives to Christ! Overall, it was a special Sunday we’re still processing and giving thanks to God over. Hope you had a great one too! Thanks for who you are, your constant encouragement and support, and all you do!”

Brandon Grant
Rise City Church (Lakeside,  CA)

 

“Easter was phenomenal. Best Easter I can remember! We had 128 in attendance which is roughly double our typical Sunday. We had 3 baptisms, and their stories were powerful! Celebrating what God is doing here!

Morgan Greer
Serve Community Church (Prairie Village, KS)

 

“Easter was great. We had 180 over two services. Good prep and practice for when we go two services regularly. We have a small space so we have to balance our unique challenges before launching two, but could be as early as the fall.”

Josh Tandy
Movement Church (Newport, KY)

 

“We had a great Easter Sunday – kicking the day off with a church-wide potluck breakfast and then celebrating the resurrection of Jesus (and ourselves)! We had 175 in attendance today and 83 in attendance on Good Friday. We also celebrated 1 baptism – a woman who started coming to our church right after ending an abusive relationship. It was incredible today to read her story and to have our first ever baptism within the service (in the past we’ve done baptism in our school’s swimming pool, but since we have grown, there are just too many people to fit around the pool). Having the baptism within the service was especially impactful and something that we will definitely do again.”

Dori and Rich Gorman
New Story (Chicago, IL)

 

“Easter was a great day! God showed up in all His glory. We had 142 in attendance and had a family come forward for prayer. The day before we did an Easter egg scavenger hunt throughout the mall. We had a couple hundred in attendance. At one station, kids made a Gospel bracelet, were told the Gospel story, and given Bibles. We had kids and their families asking lots of questions, requesting prayer and Bibles, and videoing the story of the Gospel so they could remember it. God is great!”

Nathan Paulus
Radiant Church (Wichita, KS)

“Previous attendance high: 446. This Easter we had 524. Yeah God!”

Vince Antonucci
Verve Church (Las Vegas, NV)

 

“This year we had 198 on Easter. Several had friends attend who they have been inviting to church for a long time. We had two baptisms in the afternoon. One was a fifth-grade boy whose mother has been praying that her kids would become Christ followers. She is the only Christian in her family and this is the first one to follow Christ and be baptized, so she was thrilled! The second was a 45-year-old man who just got out of jail and has been sober from drugs for a month due to a narcotics anonymous program has entered into. Great victory in his life as well. We also had several guests say they will be back the following Sunday to hear a message on evidence for the resurrection with the head of the apologetics department from Biola University and our local taco guy and food trucks afterwards. Thank you for your prayers! It’s been a good couple of weeks!!

Rick Gunn
Solid Ground Christian Fellowship (Redlands, CA)

 

“We had a good Easter service! We have a pretty small crew, but we had a couple lead worship for us for the first time. I got a text after the service about how they’ve never felt so loved or connected. That was my highlight for the day!”

Mark Cox
Access Church (Powell, OH)

 

“We had 1,170 between the two campuses which is great with it being the first weekend of spring break. 331 of this was 5th grade and under. I taught on how Mary Magdelene was the first person Jesus appeared to so, that means we all matter. No matter what our past, our shame is just our story not our identity. We prayed with a couple dealing with infertility. Prayed with another fam who 5 months ago lost their 36 year old son to overdose  and the stories just keep rolling in this week. Pretty awesome.”

Bart Stone
Momentum Christian Church (McDonough, GA)

 

“Easter was great! 325, one baptism the week before, and a ton of invited guests.”

Josh Burnett
Revolution Church (Annapolis, MD)

 

“We had a great Easter. We have 1,857 total at both campuses. Largest attendance ever!”

Troy McMahon
Restore Community (Kansas City, MO)

 

“We had a great day. I didn’t know what to expect since Spring Break started the Friday before Easter. Half of our key team members were gone. However, it ended up being a great day. We had over 300 in attendance. We know of 10 people who made first time commitments to Jesus. Baptism are April 29th. Our team did a great job. Thanks for all your support.

Here is a story we showed yesterday:

Clint Dupin
Eastown Church (San Ramon, CA)