(Photo: Kelsey Herrera)
As October brings the sights and sounds of Halloween, one Virginia megachurch decided to provide a scary site for the sake of evangelism.
Earlier this month, The Rock Student Ministries at McLean Bible Church of Vienna hosted a "Terror Maze" for middle and high school students, having done so annually for over six years.
Kelsey Herrera, spokeswoman from The Rock Student Ministries, told The Christian Post that the main purpose of the event is "to clearly share the Gospel with the 6th-12th graders who go through the maze."
"This is the only reason we host the event (or any event here at the Rock), to have the opportunity to tell students about the person and work of Jesus Christ," said Herrera.
According to an ad posted online, the "Terror Maze" was opened from Wednesday, Oct. 17 until Friday, Oct. 19. Cost of admission was $5 and the hours of operation were 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
"Students arrive at the building and wait in line to go through the maze, with a tour guide. They go through in groups of 8-10," said Herrera, noting that the maze takes an estimated 15 minutes to complete.
"The last 'exhibit' in the maze is the Gospel room. Students watch a video that clearly explains the Gospel…Counselors are available for students who have questions or would like to talk."
Herrera provided CP with a letter from Dale Sutherland, director of Student Ministries at McLean, regarding the details of the "Terror Maze" event.
"There are no demons, demonic references, witches, potions etc. in and around this event," wrote Sutherland, who noted that other scary aspects will be found with the maze.
"These may be offensive to some students and we completely understand that and would encourage our parents to decide that for their teenagers."
Sutherland, who first worked on a similar event for Barcroft Bible Church in Fairfax during the 1970s, stressed that the goal will be "to scare" the students, albeit within limits.
"Make no mistake; we will try to do this event well. That means trying to scare kids. For whatever reason kids love roller coasters, bungee jumping, horror movies, which I oppose wholeheartedly and will address in any talk about the spirit world," said Sutherland.
"I also do not recommend you to send any kids that are scared of things like this. There is no reason to send a 6th grader to this if they are not totally comfortable; however they can come for the event to hang out, eat, etc. and just not go through the maze."
According to Herrera, this year the "Terror Maze" had over 1,500 volunteers and students present. There were 79 students who decided to commit their lives to Jesus Christ.