By Staff, Baptist Message
WINNFIELD – First Baptist Church is celebrating an evangelistic milestone in Winnfield during October – the 20th anniversary of its first Judgement House.
A walk-through drama that presents visitors with a visualization of some of the life and death consequences of choices made on earth, Judgement House at FBC Winnfield has enjoyed an average of 103 people making a decision for Christ from among 1,324 visitors each performance year since its inception.
Judgment Houses are held in 20 states, using any of 24 scripts developed by the Judgement House national organization based in Clearwater, Fla. All scripts follow a story line that involves a fatal accident to make the emphasis that the only way to get to Heaven is by believing in Jesus.
John Holland, minister of music and senior adults for FBC Winnfield, explained to the Baptist Message that the congregation hosts Judgment House every two years, hosting a church-wide revival in the year between.
“After the first year’s presentation, we were overwhelmed by the response from churches throughout central Louisiana,” Holland said. “It is a unique, cutting-edge evangelistic opportunity, but it is very demanding on the cast members. Due to its magnitude, after the first year we decided to make it an every-other-year event.
“It is awesome to see how God has used this innovative ministry to share the Gospel with such a large number of people,” he continued. “The ministers of First Baptist Winnfield want to encourage everyone to come and be a part of this year’s Judgement House 20th year celebration.”
Holland, who has been at the church since the inaugural Judgement House in 1997, said to pull off such a feat, leaders must recruit an army of volunteers to serve as cast members, audio-visual personnel, registration secretaries, security guards and counselors. Around 180 volunteers sign up with FBCW each performance year to help with the event.
Through the years, the scripts have reflected current events to keep up with the ever changing effects they have on society. This year’s script is entitled “Payback – When Revenge Turns to Ruin.”
“We selected it because we felt like it relates to today’s culture really well,” Holland said. “It has to do with bullying, social media, broken homes and several other problems that young people encounter in life.”
Steven Smithson, pastor of First Baptist Winnfield, encouraged all interested participants to reserve a performance day and time, though walk-in attendees are welcome.
“This could change your life,” Smithson said. “It could change your home, your neighbor, your office, your workplace, your church. It has a lot of power.”
Performances are scheduled for Oct. 18, 21, 22, 25, 28, 29 and 31. Each begins at 6 p.m., with groups departing from the waiting room every 20 minutes. A $2 donation is per person is suggested. Call 318.628.3544 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to make reservations. Visit fbcwinn.com for more information.