Faith Matters: Journey Church says egg hunt way to teach Gospel

Easter is prime time for sharing the story of the resurrected Christ.

For the fifth straight year, Journey Church in Greenwell Springs is using its biggest outreach event — The Great Egg Hunt — to help share the Gospel.

“Easter is the time of year for people who don’t attend church regularly or never go to church. This is the time to push people to invite their families, invite their friends, those that are unchurched or unbelievers, those that have backslid,” said Pastor Kelly Sullivan, one of the egg hunt coordinators and director of the children’s ministry at Journey.

The church hopes to draw children and their parents to the free egg hunt set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at Lovett Road Park in Central and South Park in Denham Springs, where more than 100,000 candy-filled Easter eggs will be planted. There will be fields for four egg-hunting age groups: 3 years old and younger; 4- to 6-year- olds; 7- to 9-year-olds and 10- to 12-year-olds.

“It’s more than just candy and eggs and games,” Sullivan said. “Each of those eggs are a seed planted in the heart of these kids for Christ.”

Other family-fun activities will include inflatables, a petting zoo and rock-climbing wall. There will also be jambalaya, drinks, cotton candy and snowballs.

But most importantly, Sullivan said there will be a short gospel presentation, offering people an opportunity to respond to the salvation call.

“We spread the Gospel while we’re out there and let everybody know the real reason why we’re out there. The reason that we have the holiday that we call Easter is celebrating the resurrection of Christ and that’s the whole reason we’re out there,” he said. “It’s a blessing to see people coming out as a family and to do what God has called for us to do: to present the message of the Gospel.”

It is the church’s mission, Sullivan said, to go to the community.

“We can’t sit back as a body of Christ,” he said. “We’re in the business of winning hearts, and we got to go out and get them.”

For the 36-year-old Sullivan, it starts with the children, a group in which he has a longtime passion to minister. He and his wife, Kacie, served as volunteers in the kids ministry. He joined the staff last year.

“Children are our greatest harvest … Scripture tells us that we ourselves as adults need to have the heart for Christ like a child,” he said.

Sullivan said it’s paramount to train them while they are young.

“Their hearts haven’t been completely polluted with all the things that the shifting culture has to offer,” he said. “You want to get into their hearts early. That way, their morals and values aren’t set. Statistics show that around age 18, your values and morals are set. And if those ways and those morals aren’t godly values or godly morals, it’s proven that it’s tougher to lead somebody for Christ.”

For more information, call (225) 262-4381 or go to takethejourney.tv/.

Feeding brothers, sisters

The Rev. Melvin Rushing could hardly hold his excitement about the Together Baton Rouge/Baton Rouge Food Bank mobile food pantry coming to his Old South Baton Rouge faith community.

Rushing, pastor of the Progressive Baptist Church on Julia Street and a member of Together Baton Rouge, was among the volunteers handing out free food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, to nearly 400 families last week at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.

“The proof of our love is what we’re willing to do for those we love,” Rushing said. “Certainly, there’s so much need in this community, and anytime we have an opportunity to try to address the need, our faith demands that we do that.”

Progressive Baptist Church and St. Francis Xavier served as hosts to bring the area’s first mobile food pantry.

Together Baton Rouge has been hosting a food pantry in the Scotlandville area two years ago.

“This is something we’ve been working toward every since we started the food pantry in Scotlandville,” Rushing said. “This is the first day in South Baton Rouge.”

The Rev. Edward Chiffriller, pastor of St. Francis Xavier, said his parish started getting involved in various Together Baton Rouge projects over the past year and was delighted to host the event and mission of love for Christ.

“The Lord told us to feed our brothers and sisters and when we do that we are feeding him,” Chiffriller said. “It’s not just helping people with food but it’s also witnessing to our faith and assisting our brothers and sisters, especially people in need.”

Rushing said volunteers of all faiths and civic groups participated in the event.

“It shows that we are bringing the city together around some common needs that needs to be addressed,” he said.

The next food pantry is set for 9 a.m. Saturday, April 26, at St. Michael Episcopal Church, 1620 77th Ave.

New brand of church

“Re-branding the Church for the 21st Century” will be the theme of the J.D. Lands Leadership Institute’s Empowerment Conference 2014.

The conference for youth and adults will be held 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Monday through Wednesday at New Gideon Baptist Church, 2542 Balis Drive.

“The significance of our theme is in the realization that we need to rebrand our method but never God’s message,” said Pearlie Johnson, of New Gideon. “Based on the generation of believers in today’s society, we now have to move forward. The impact of our knowledge economy has affected our workplace, ministry and community, and we have to utilize effective collaboration, communication and technology. Twenty-first century leaders are tasked with promoting and sustaining a learning culture that provides full engagement for all its members.”

The theme is taken from the Isaiah 43:19: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Courses will include Spiritual Formation – Phase I; Christianity and Contemporary Issues – Phase IV; and Introduction to Leadership. Other classes will be Young Adult Leadership in the 21st Century (for ages 18-35), Developing Christian Morals (for ages 13-17) and The Best Me I Can Be (for ages 5-12).

The conference fee is $5. Call (225) 926-4441, email pjohnson@ngbc.brcoxmail.com or go to newgideonbc.org.

Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Terry Robinson can be reached at (225) 388-0238 or email trobinson@theadvocate.com.