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Easter Service Review (Canyon Ridge)

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While every Sunday is important, it’s safe to say that Easter is a church’s most anticipated service of the year. I was unable to be at my home church for Easter, but had the privilege of attending my sister’s church, where she serves on staff. Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV passed out peeps candy to its members weeks prior to have them invite their peeps to an Easter service. Seven services were arranged to accommodate an expected 12,000 people. The totals came in at 13,371 demonstrating good foresight and planning.

CRCC is a mega-church in Vegas, so production standards are high for everything from music to video to stage design, graphics, lighting and atmospheric effects. That said, nothing was done over the top. That type of performance is reserved for the Strip.

Outside the auditorium there were baptisms going on as well as BBQs and Easter egg hunts. Inside people were in place ready to worship and were interacting physically and audibly with a unique and fun pre-service video (Roman Video’s “Steve the Screen Easter Edition” http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/countdowns/37006/Steve-The-Screen-Easter-Edition).

A full stage of musicians, singers and choir set the tone early. Creativity in music selections was evident from the beginning when “The Wonderful Cross” went straight into the middle of Matt Maher’s “Christ is Risen (Come Awake).” This medley approach was repeated for two other resurrection themed songs: “Let is Rise” and “God’s Not Dead (Like a Lion).”

After some special announcements the band was striped to essential players for a special number. Big Daddy Weave’s song “Redeemed” was weaved together with a video featuring real redemption stories from several church members. This blending of pre-recorded and live action, in and out, was powerful. On the triple wide screen in the middle scrolled polaroid-like images of all those who were filmed for the video. At the end a few came out to say one more line about how God has redeemed them and then the band finished with “thank God redeemed.” This was perhaps the most effective element of the whole service and served to set up what was to come.

Kevin Odor delivered an impactful message on “Hope You Can Trust.” This is the first message of a series on trust. A funny moment occurred as we watched a short “Trust Fall Fail” video that was adapted with the series graphics on either end. At the end of the message, those who had accepted Christ were encouraged to text “today” to a number and those interested in a “Getting Started Class” could text “next” to another number.

CRCC practices open communion every Sunday. Kevin Odor transitioned into this time seamlessly. While the trays of bread and juice were being passed a beautiful instrument piano piece was played live as images and verses of Scripture were displayed on the screens. A singer quietly made his way on to the stage by the piano to perform “Be Still” by the popular Grammy nominated band The Fray. A cover song from main stream artists is not uncommon at CRCC.

At this point, one could sense the service coming to a close. However, before dismissing the dynamics would change again to send everyone out fired up for the Lord. While the offering was being collected the full band started playing. A spoken word piece over the band’s underscore tied together the service. The worship leader and choir on their cue began singing the chorus and bridge of Chris Tomlin’s “Our God is Greater.” It was not only those on stage who were animated. Electricity filled the air as we were dismissed.

I’m glad that I was able to attend this excellent Easter service at a great church. If you would like to check out this service or any others, check out the media page at www.canyonridge.org

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