A LaGrange church is setting up for its month-long display of the end times, a spectacle that is expected to draw up to 19,000 people.
Faith Baptist Church’s “Judgement Journey” kicks off at dusk Saturday and runs Friday and Saturday nights through Nov. 3.
“Our mission is the same now as when it got started,” said Dale Prather, middle school minister at the church and the man in charge of the program.
About 300 volunteers from the church help set up and depict nine scenes from the Bible, complete with a final judgement scene, helicopters, pyrotechnics and other special effects. The event is in its 16th year.
“It might be a little bit different than what most churches do, but it’s the gospel, nonetheless,” Prather said. “We pick the parts to best describe the end times. We could never fully depict it.”
The church has drawn visitors from Michigan, New York, Canada and Texas and other churches have started their own Judgement Journey programs, including a church in Peru.
“When you’re sharing the gospel, there’s no competition,” Prather said of the other church’s efforts.
In recent years, the church has received complaints from neighbors about the noise. Prather said the church has made mitigating that problem an “area of concern,” and even erected 20-foot metal walls last year.
“We try and limit the noise without limiting the effect of the program,” he said. The church also quit offering the program on weeknights to lessen the impact on neighboring families.
“We’re not out here just putting on a show,” he said. “We have a purpose. If just one person comes through and receives our message, it was worth it to us.”
The church spends more than $100,000 to produce the program each year and only has broke even with expenses in the last three years.
Admission is $8 in advance and $10 at the gate and a special “Troup County” night, to draw local residents, is Saturday.
Prather said this is the first year Judgement Journey has sold tickets online as a way to “get with the times.”
The website to purchase tickets in advance is www.judgementjourney.com.