CENTRAL CITY, Ky. (10/15/13) – Have you ever seen a pastor preach from the coffin? If that sounds strange and eerie to you, then open your mind and see the Living Word Church production called 'Thriller-Dancing on the Devil's Grave'.
October 28th through Halloween night, The Living Word Church, at 320 Phillip Stone Way in Central City, presents what some may, at first glance, consider unusual.
That said, according to co-directors Beth Brown and Dana Waller, "Thriller" drew overflowing crowds last year that topped out at 1000, with such a response that additional shows had to be added due to the massive attendance, and, most importantly, this unique production, which includes a message from Pastor Enoch David Rich, resulting in over 150 people giving their lives to Christ.
"The cast ranges from ages 8 to 60. It starts out in a Haunted Mansion and then after the musical productions, the pastor is brought in within a coffin to give the message." Waller said.
"Basically, we're just trying to make church cool and awesome, and relevant to today. The pastor's main message is there is hope. You don't have to receive the death that's all around you. There is hope in Jesus." Brown added.
Now in its third season, "Thriller" includes a cast and crew of 50, including a live band, special effects and state of the art lighting and audio.
Pastor Enoch Rich explained, "The way 'Thriller' came about was from an idea I had. Halloween has become such a huge holiday, which focuses around ghosts, spirits, the supernatural evil, demons and things that scare you. We're preaching about God and doing what is good while Halloween is seen as evil. But, if you think about it, there is no better book than the Bible that has all the information about the supernatural. Preachers' themes are generally talking about Heaven, Hell, spirits, and this sort of thing. I had this concept for a Halloween message, where I would preach from inside the coffin, as if I was remembering my life. Which is not out of the ordinary, but yes, preaching from the coffin is definitely different. And since I was going to preach from a coffin, we decided that maybe we could make it more dramatic with pallbearers bringing me in."
Rich said the basic idea just grew and grew. Rich admits that even he was surprised that "Thriller" became such a hit.
"It was such a hit, that we did it again, and built it up, with 18th century sets, costumes, actors, and singers. We use the song 'Thriller' in the text of good versus evil. It's basically an off-Broadway type production of what is an old sermon theme that has been used a lot. Heaven and Hell. The Devil and God, and the battle between these forces. We've just made it into a highly professional production, and I try to preach what is a very good message. But it's very entertaining. People will laugh at parts, cry at parts, it's just a top notch production." he added.
And was Pastor Enoch surprised at all by the response, with over a thousand attending, and so many people saved?
"That was definitely a pleasant surprise. We had no idea we'd see that type of success. We were just trying to tap into where peoples' minds were during Halloween. What we found out was, people who are not necessarily church going were intrigued by what we were doing, and the entertainment value of it. But when they would attend, they would be moved by the message behind it. It just so happened that we tapped into something that's wildly popular now. We were doing our best to make church a place to go on Halloween. It's not a mystery why people would be intrigued by death, life, spirits... that's not out of the ordinary. Halloween has historically just focused on the darker forces. In 'Thriller' we focus on both, but good, God triumphs over evil.
"We believe God gave us a way to do this,” the Pastor continued. “The message comes across. Everybody enjoys this production. If a church going person asks 'Why are they doing this, if they come to see it, it makes perfect sense to any Christian. It is out of the ordinary, it is cutting edge. And it makes it relevant to non-church members. We've just peaked peoples' interest. How do you get non-church members in? They don't go away saying, ‘that was a good little church play'. They go away saying, 'Wow, that was good. They feel it just as if they went to an off-Broadway play. As a minister, I pray God anoints it. I hope the word spreads, and we can reach that place where the amount of people will be increased a lot. And the main goal is that they will hear the Word of God and be moved by it.” Pastor Enoch concluded.
Due to limited seating, advance tickets are recommended. Admission is $3.00, and tickets are available at the Central City Tourism office on N. 1st Street in Central City, or by calling 270 754 5108.
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