“Wrecked: Are You on the Wrong Track?” That doubles as a question and theme as the Judgement House opens its 25th year.
“Each year, we try to focus on real life stories, real life scenarios that people might have experienced in their own lives during their own struggles,” said Bill Rose, lead pastor at The First Pentecostal Holiness Church, which has hosted Judgement House since it began in 1992.
“This year is no different. We have a brand new experience. We’re doing a train wreck. We’re building this massive train wreck scene with 300 running feet of train wreck.”
Rose said the very first scene is visually overwhelming. Visitors will see the stories of the people who rode the train every day, their lives, their major decisions, their crossroad moments in life — all their defining moments.
“We want to celebrate people who maybe were on the wrong track in life, and by God’s grace, he got them on the right track, and ultimately they experience heaven because of Jesus’ death,” Rose said.
“We have some surprises, some twists and turns. We’ve got some really intriguing characters that I think most people are going to enjoy. We have a runaway teen, a Gulf War veteran, a busy dad.”
“(They are) the normal run of the mill, go to work every day people who try to provide for their family and be a responsible member of the community who experience hardships and difficulties. They’re characters (in which) everybody who comes is going to see themselves.”
Rose said there also will be a Fortnight fun park based on a popular video game.
Then there is the fishing pond, a whole lake with fishermen in boats on it.
“It’s going to be rather amazing, all the different scenes,” Rose said.
“We always finish with our hell scene for people that didn’t make a decision for Jesus Christ. And we’ve got our heaven scene to demonstrate the power of redemption and the hope of eternal life.”
Rose said Judgement House is mainly for those 10 and older. There are nine rooms, and groups of visitors go through those rooms with a guide. The church has some wheelchairs and power scooters for visitors who may need them.
The entire production is about one hour and 10 minutes.
Church members wrote, produced and designed all the sets for Judgement House.
There are 180 actors in the production and another 150 support people.
“We started writing it in May and started building sets and practicing in August,” Rose said. “It’s a powerful message, very positive and upbeat and uplifting. It’s stories of redemption and grace.”
Rose said the church started Judgement House as an alternative to Halloween for its members, and also to bring the Gospel to the community.
“That first year in 1992, 500 people came,” he said. “Now almost 500 people a night work at it. Through the years, more than 250,000 people have come to Judgement House. And 20,000 have come to our prayer room and made a decision for Jesus Christ.”
People come from as far away as Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee.
“We’ve seen Christian people come and be inspired and encouraged in their own personal life,” Rose said. “They become more motivated to share the gospel.
“We’ve had people come who have been on drugs and have gotten saved and found deliverance from drugs. We’ve had families that were separated and alienated from each other reconcile. We’ve had teenagers who were on the wrong track and running from God, having difficulty with their parents. People have come who were lost and got saved and are now in the ministry.”
Admission to Judgement House is free.
It runs from Friday through Nov. 11. Days and times are Fridays from 6 to 9:30 p.m., Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
Reservations are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome.
For more information about Judgement House, call 919-734-2674.