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Church on the Lawn is back in East Chain

East Chain Evangelical Free Church is hosting Church on the Lawn services for the second straight year. Two of the 13 services have already been held, and the average so far for each service is over 200 people.

Max Haake is a member of the church and is the co-leader of the Church on the Lawn committee. He said that the history goes back to last year with COVID-19 the committee and church decided to do church outside.

This service attracted visitors who normally wouldn’t come, and the setting was more relaxed and less intimidating. There are different pressures people face in going to church, such as sitting in someone’s seat or somebody not knowing the church well. Haake said that they want to take down that wall.

“We’re making a push to invite people and do some stuff maybe a little bit above what we’d normally do, but we’re getting a good response,” Haake said.

The services also include guest speakers. These guest speakers include Terry Francis, John Morris, Terry Baxter, Victor Branitski, Byron Emmert and Kurt Ploeger. There will also be some services led by interim Pastor Dr. Steve Torgerson. The guest speaker’s sermons will be more testimony-driven. Testimony-driven means they will be speaking about how God has worked in their lives.

Haake is also a member of the worship team and said that and the fellowship are two of his favorite things about Church on the Lawn.

“Part of the message I want to get across is we have a special group down in East Chain,” Haake said. “There are a lot of people here who are related in the area, but there’s also a lot of people who come from the outside from Truman, Welcome, Estherville, Swea City. It’s a pretty tight-knit group that really supports each other, prays for each other, helps in each other’s lives and really comes together and we just want to share that with the community people who’re looking for something like that in their lives.”

The theme for the season is found in Mark 4 which is the parable of the sower. The parable refers to a farmer planting seeds, with the farmer representing God and his word being the seeds, and it talks about the growth that will come. Haake said that they want to plant the seeds and it is up to God if those seeds will grow.

The usual Sunday consists of donuts starting at 10 a.m. At 10:30 a.m. the service starts and after there is fellowship time. There are kid’s programs for elementary-aged kids. The kids will start out in the regular service and then they will be sent off with children’s leaders. If there is rain everything will be switched to inside with the same atmosphere.

At most of the remaining services, there will be food trucks at the church. The last Church on the Lawn service will be a worship service at the Martin County Fair on August 22.

Information can be found on the church’s website at https://eastchain.com/welcome or on the church’s Facebook page.

The overall message that Haake wanted to send to readers and the community when it comes to Church on The Lawn is that it’s less intimidating and that he and the church want to invite people to come wherever they are.

“We want people to know we’re not a perfect church and we’re not perfect and you’re not perfect,” Haake said. “Let’s have some fun and worship Jesus together.”

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