Baxter Arena Draws Thousands to Easter Services

Posted at 4:13 PM, Apr 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-16 17:13:16-04

Sunday, King of Kings Church in Omaha is celebrated 25 years of offering a city-wide Easter service like no other.


"There's no better day of the year, we feel like, to go all-out than on Easter morning," said creative director Shev Sayed.


On Easter Sunday, a congregation of 2500, grows to almost 6,000 - all piled into Baxter Arena for one of the largest Easter services in Nebraska.


Some were first-timers like Jim and Michelle Evans, who usually attend mass at Mary Our Queen.


"Came to see what it's all about.   Everybody seems excited about it, we've seen a lot of bumper stickers and we thought we'd come spend our Easter here,” said Jim.


Hannah Nelson has attended King of Kings since she was a baby, and likes to carry on the annual family tradition.


"It's a little different every year, there's a different theme and different stuff that they do," said Nelson.


But before the audience comes, there's a lot of preparation.


"Our first meeting was actually before Christmas," said Senior Pastor Mark Zehnder.


"We have a full band that plays worship music, and then we have different videos and creative elements throughout the service to engage people and kind of get them ready for the lead up to our senior pastor's message,” said Sayed.


King of Kings started the event 25 years ago as a way to get the community involved.


"We wanted to take our service out into the city, so that people that didn't have a place normally to worship would feel invited and welcome," said Pastor Zehnder.


Over the years, they've moved from the Holiday Inn Convention Center, to the Civic Auditorium, the Centurylink Center, and finally found the perfect home at Baxter.


"It's right in the heart of the city; it's right in Midtown," said Sayed.


The whole city invited, but it's also the one day of the year that the massive King of Kings congregation can fit into one large service.  They usually have multiple services for the 2500 congregants each Sunday.


"That's awesome, that many people coming together in one place.  It's just an amazing feeling," said first-time attendee Joe Cross.


Pastor Zehnder said he hopes that people walk away with a positive message.


"Easter is the pinnacle of the Christian faith, the day that we celebrate Jesus' resurrection from the dead and what that means for us. It's life for us,” said Zehnder.


King of kings also launched it's 'Love Can' campaign today.  The goal of the campaign is to get people to spend the next 5 weeks doing acts of kindness and service around Omaha.