Sometimes, the decisions we make have eternal consequences. That is the premise behind Judgement House, a walk-through gospel presentation with an edge. Once again, First Church of the Nazarene in Great Bend is offering Judgement House as an alternative to Halloween haunted houses.
This year’s program, “Abducted,” tells the story of several teenagers whose lives are cut short by tragedy. It depicts what happens after death to those who have accepted Christ and those who have rejected Him.
There are some frightening scenes that may not be suitable for children under 10 years old. But that decision is left to the parents, said Sue Levingston at the church. Counselors will be standing by and can help anyone who needs to exit the show.
Performances will run from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24; 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the church, located at 4811 Broadway Ave. A $2 donation is recommended. Reservations are being taken at the church during the day. The telephone number is 620-793-6139.
Here is the synopsis of this year’s script, from www.judgementhouse.org:
“It was just a normal day of routine in the lives of four teenage girls. After cheer practice, Kate Davis and her younger sister Becca decide to go to a movie with Wendy and Abby Colson. Little did Abby and Becca know that their worst nightmare was awaiting them in the shadows of the dingy theater parking lot. Kidnappers snatch the girls while killing their friend Justin. Will SWAT arrive in time or will the girls’ lives be lost in the wake of abduction?”
The scenario may be unlikely, but it’s not unrealistic, said Dale Pruter, one of the organizers. “The statistics are very scary on abduction and slave trade.”
Guides lead the audience members, who will walk from scene to scene. Space inside and outside the church has been re-purposed. In the final scenes, audience members experience seeing just a little bit of the joy of being a Christian or the horrible fate that awaits those who end up turning away from Him.
The church has sponsored a Judgement House for at least eight years. This year the set designers have tweaked the heaven and hell scenes, which were still under construction Monday.
Heaven is as inviting as ever, Pruter said, but, “Hell has a whole different twist this year.” It will be less Gothic than in previous years. Without giving too much away, he hinted that fans of C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters” might appreciate it.
“People will go to get scared, but they’re going to walk away thinking,” he said.
As many as 16 area churches and at least 100 volunteers get involved in this non-denominational production, which draws youth groups from near and far, Pruter said. Last year over 300,000 people all over the United States reportedly saw Judgement House and lives were changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pruter said approximately 1,000 people walk through Great Bend’s Judgement House every year.
One purpose of Judgement House is to remind participants that hell doesn’t have to be their final destination. After the final scene, guests are invited to accept Jesus as their savior or to rededicate their lives if they are already Christians. Online studies for “After Judgement House” can be found at www.afterjh.org.