Easter worship services at Real Life Church were launched Thursday night, with the hit-song “Believer,” as dozens of families lounged on blankets, children jumped in bounce houses and soared across the sky on a zip line, in the newly opened Bridgeport Marketplace Park.
The scene was not the typical church service. Instead, it was one of many Easter worship service events held by Real Life Church (RLC) across four days.
Despite a somewhat rocky start, after an attendee experienced a minor injury on the zip line, the rest of the evening went well. Hundreds gathered at Real Life to kick-off a weekend of Easter events. This year RLC focused on making the event more appealing to the community, with the addition of Easter at the Park.
Outside, Carla Lund sat on a blanket with her two children in front of the large video screen. The family began attending the church in late 2015, prompted by an invitation from her brother. They attended the Easter service last year and were eager to return.
“I love that more kids ages are represented this year with different attractions,” said Lund, referring to the addition of the zip line and inflatables. “The giraffe last year was charming; but this is better. The idea is to make the Easter services family friendly.”
Lund was one of many who were excited about the event. Ten Easter services, held across four days, included worship, a zip line, bounce houses, food trucks, children’s games and families gathered in the park to watch live-streamed services.
In addition to park activities and worship viewing, the church hosted attendees inside the worship center and at the outside amphitheater. More than 10,000 people attended Easter events last year, and while the format was altered slightly, the church expected just as many this year.
“We want people to come who may not be sure about coming into church, but maybe they’ll bring their family to the park,” explained Brennan Conklin, Executive Director of Multisite for RLC. “We want to be a church that’s for our community here in Santa Clarita. Hopefully we can show them we love them and God loves them.”
Not in church
Real Life staffers explained doing Easter in a big, community way is important to the church. Danny Caudillo, Communications Director of RLC, explained they consider Easter the “Super Bowl” of Christianity.
“Maybe people don’t want to come to church, but they might want to come see a giraffe,” said Caudillo. “It can be a great way to break the ice.”
While past years have featured large animals and petting zoos, the church took a new approach to the holiday. After finishing the park, a partnership with the city, they decided to host a big event and create a carnival style theme.
“They never have to step food in church if they don’t want,” said Caudillo. “They can picnic with family and friends and still get the Easter message.”
Sarah and Brock Arndt planned to do exactly that. They weren’t avoiding church, instead have a very active toddler.
“Have you ever sat down with a 17-month-old?” joked Brock. “It can be tough sitting inside with little ones.”
The family, which was married at RLC five years ago, enjoyed the festive atmosphere. Their daughter Stella bounced happily in the inflatables. The family planned to get food from the food trucks and participate in the outdoor service.
“The church really provides a lot of opportunities for the community to spend bonding time together,” said Sarah.
“They also try to put on a form of entertainment so people can do more than just hear a service,” added Brock. “And their messages are down to earth. It’s great for families, especially those taking little ones.”
Easter events continue today from 4 to 8 p.m. Services held tomorrow for Easter Sunday at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m. in Valencia will not include the carnival activities. Services held tomorrow at the Canyon Country location will feature inflatables and other family activities. For more information visits RealLifeChurch.org.