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April 21, 2020

Adam's Blog: Celebrating Easter

This past Easter was an odd one, wasn’t it? Easter egg hunts being cancelled, church changing to online only, family dinners and Easter dresses without their usual sparkle. It would be easy to be bummed about all the things that "weren't."

But what about the things that "were"? Even in the midst of a pandemic, there was much to celebrate. And there still is. Easter's message didn't change. And The Ridge's vision didn't change. 

Will you join me in celebrating a few things from this past Easter? 

1. Jesus is alive. Jesus still died on the cross for us, and He still rose from the grave. No matter how we're feeling, what change is happening, even when all feels lost, Jesus is alive. That changes everything, and gives hope in the midst of uncertainty. It doesn't mean things aren't hard, but it does mean we are loved more than we can comprehend. If that's not worth celebrating, not much else is. 

2. Our church is people, not a building. If you ever needed that reminder, here it is. We’re not able to gather together in the same place. Does that stop us? Nope. We were still able to gather, and still able to celebrate Jesus. Here’s some proof: 

• 331. That’s how many times our posts were shared inviting people to check us out on Easter. 
• 14,394. That’s how many people were reached through those invites. 
• 538. That’s how many households watched the video on Sunday morning.
• 614. That’s how many comments there were on our Easter service post. 
• 78. That’s how many households checked out our Easter Jam for kids. 

Say what? That’s incredible, and definitely worth celebrating. 

3. We have the opportunity to live out our vision to do whatever it takes to reach our community for Christ like we never have before! 

Here’s a story from a Ridger that makes this point well: “I invited a friend to tune into Easter at The Ridge. He hasn't gone to church for several years. I was unsure how he would react. He said he would watch if he didn't have anything else going on. I texted him a reminder late in the week. He watched. He texted me after the service and told me that he could relate to Thomas. He also said that if he could watch from home, he would continue to do so once in a while!"

There were people hearing the message of Jesus this Easter that wouldn’t have heard it in the same way, if at all. But this story isn’t done. 

Here’s part two of the story from the same Ridger: “I texted my friend the Sunday after Easter to remind him about the service, and he did watch! He even texted me a couple questions! I don't know what will happen once we can attend again, but it's great that he is now watching online!” 

If you have a story like this, we would love to hear it! 

One of the things I found the most encouraging on Easter didn’t happen on Sunday morning. Many of our life groups gathered together at the local hospital in Columbus to encourage the staff and to pray for them and those who are sick. As I looked around at full parking lots, heard car horns honking, read signs thanking our healthcare workers, and waved to those workers looking at us out the window, I was overwhelmed, and it served as a great reminder of living out the vision to do whatever it takes. 

Doing whatever it takes isn’t just in a building on Sunday morning. It’s not a fancy hashtag to use as motivation at a convenient time. Doing whatever it takes is proactively loving and caring for our community, not for our own purposes, but for Jesus. Sometimes we have to get creative, and I long for the day we can be together in the same place again. But for now, join me in celebrating this past Easter, and that Jesus is alive.  

Whatever it takes,