published Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Thinking beyond the pew: Chattanooga area churches offer productions to entice the Easter-curious

Since Easter is the highest attended Sunday in United States churches, according a recent study, it stands to reason area congregations would offer special services to pique the interest of those inclined to attend.

Among those offerings for Easter are dramatic musicals of the life of Christ, an indoor walk-through drama, cantatas and a presentation of the seven last sayings of Christ.

Easter (this year on March 31) was tabbed by 93 percent of pastors as the most attended Sunday in a 2012 study of 1,000 Protestant pastors by LifeWay Research, a Christian research center.

The sacred holiday was followed by Christmas and

Mother's Day as the top attended services.

Programs in our area

• First Baptist Church of Soddy-Daisy, 10185 Dayton Pike, will offer "Unto the Lamb," a dramatic life-of-Christ musical which will be staged by choir, orchestra, cast and crew of more than 150 people (plus live animals).

"We're excited to see what going to happen," says worship minister Bobby Boutwell of the church's eighth such offering. "We have a three-fold purpose when we talk about going to the expense and effort of one of these [productions] -- to glorify the Lord, to unify the church and to reach out into the community."

Its four presentations will be Friday at 7 p.m.; 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16; and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 17.

Free tickets are available at Floyd Hardware and Soddy Bible and Church Supplies in Soddy-Daisy, Lifeway Christian Store in Hixson and Chick-fil-A restaurants in Northgate Mall and Oak Park Town Center.

• "Bow the Knee," a dramatic musical, will be offered at Tyner United Methodist Church, 6805 Standifer Gap Road, on Saturday, March 23, at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 24, at 3 p.m.

Free tickets may be reserved by calling the receptionist in the church office at 892-0444, ext. 21.

• "Resurrection Morn II," a second annual indoor walk-through drama that presents the gospel story, will be held at New Haven Baptist Church, 1058 Graysville Road.

The drama follows the lives of three teenagers faced with the decisions they will make about Christ and, in turn, how they will spend eternity.

The free tours will be offered every 20 minutes from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, March 16. Concessions and T-shirts will be available.

• The brother team of David Helms, minister of music at McFarland United Methodist Church, and Lloyd Helms, minister of music at County Line Baptist Church of Enterprise, Ala., are teaming up to offer the cantata "Presence of Jehovah" at McFarland, 101 E. Gordon Ave., in Rossville, Ga., on Friday, March 22, at 7 p.m.

At Christmas, the Enterprise natives teamed on a Christmas cantata at the Alabama church.

• Warren Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 501 N. Market St., will gather seven area ministers to offer "Preaching the Seven Last Sayings of Jesus Christ on the Cross" on Friday, March 29, at 7 p.m.

Each of the ministers -- pastor Timothy Careathers of Westside Baptist Church, pastor J.W. Cole of St. Mary Baptist Church, pastor Terrance Hannah of New Emmanual Baptist Church, host pastor Terence L. Mayes Sr. of Warren Chapel, pastor Edward L. Thrasher of Stoney Point Baptist Church, the Rev. Derek Thurmond of Mission Ridge Baptist Church and pastor Shauna Wooten of Real Life Ministries -- will speak for seven minutes.

The service also will feature guest soloist Gerald Benton and guest choirs.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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