Super Sunday: Ministry groups collaborate to host football gatherings
BY BETH RICKERS
WORTHINGTON -- In the last few years, Ransom Ministries' annual Super Bowl party has grown from a small gathering for youths from Grace Community Church to a large community affair.
And this year, it's even bigger and better, in more ways than one.
There's not just one party, but two -- one for youths and one for adults at separate locales -- and not just one, but four ministry groups coordinating the effort. Ransom Ministries, the youth organization of Grace Community Church in Worthington, is being joined by Westminster Presbyterian and Solid Rock Assembly churches and The Narrow Path, a coordinated Lutheran youth ministry of four Lakefield area churches, to sponsor the Super Bowl bashes.
"We're excited to work together on this," said Jerusha Lowe, youth director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. "We all agree that we want to have the Gospel presented to the kids. ... We stress to the kids that this is a time for them to bring their friends, have some good Christian fellowship and let us share the Gospel with their friends. Our youths from all four churches are very receptive to this concept."
"The sole purpose is to introduce kids to Christ," agreed Phill Hall, Ransom youth pastor. "We're hoping that the Christian students in our community take advantage to bring their friends to a fun event, a non-threatening event, and follow up with them afterward."
The youth Super Bowl party, for students in sixth through 12th grades, will be from 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday at Worthington High School. Students should bring along a current student ID or have a parent come with them to register for the event. Many adult volunteers have been recruited to ensure that a safe environment is maintained at the event.
"We're going to have inflatable games in the auxiliary gym, dodge ball and soccer in the balconies, basketball and volleyball on the main (gym) floor," detailed Lowe. "We've also got a room for praise music to go on all day as well as video games. In the cafeteria, there will be a large screen TV and the band, Remedy Drive, will perform on the stage."
Remedy Drive also performed last year during Ransom's Super Bowl event at the Worthington Area YMCA and made a big impression on the organizers and participants. Remedy Drive is a Christian rock band based out of Lincoln, Neb. The members are brothers, and they have performed throughout the U.S., recently touring with Rebecca St. James.
"They were fantastic," said Hall, referring to last year's event. "They came in at 9 a.m., set up their equipment and had lunch. We opened the doors at 1 p.m., and they were playing games with the kids until probably 20 minutes before they did their concert. After the concert, they left their equipment up and went and played games with the kids until closing. They didn't leave the premises until 11 p.m. There are very few times that you run into bands that are all about ministry, but they were definitely there to connect with the kids."
In addition to the games and other activities, a wide variety of door prizes will be given away, including an X-Box, another major prize yet to be determined and many items donated by local businesses. Students will only be able to register for the prizes until half-time of the Super Bowl game. Food will be served throughout the event.
Originally, organizers considered having the youth event at the new MAX 493 youth center, a ministry of Solid Rock Assemblies located on Oxford Street. But when the scope of the party exceeded what the facilities could support, it was decided to host a complementary Super Bowl party for adults at MAX 493.
"When we looked at the available space, it wasn't quite what we needed, but we thought it would be a perfect venue for parents who might be bringing their students to the high school," explained Hall. "We will have a bunch of free food, pop, and they can come and enjoy the Super Bowl together."
The adult party, also from 1 to 10 p.m., will feature game-watching on a big screen TV, food, fellowship and door prizes, and will also give parents a chance to check out the youth center's facilities.
"The deal at MAX 493 is for adults, but those families who have younger kids can bring those kids as well," emphasized Hall. "We want to make sure people know they don't have to get a baby-sitter, because, hopefully, there won't be any available because they'll all be at the high school."
Organizers from the four church-related organizations have publicized the Super Bowl events throughout the region, said Lowe, and they hope to draw students -- and perhaps their parents -- from a wide area, making Worthington the place to be for Super Bowl Sunday.
"I think a wider scope is good," said Hall. "We want to reach as many kids as possible."
For more information or to volunteer for the Super Bowl Party effort, contact Jerusha Lowe via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.