Many pastors have used examples from pop culture as sermon illustrations, but Pastor Troy Gramling is taking it to an all-new level with a Wizard of Oz-themed series of sermons, which he will present throughout the month of September at Potential Church in Florida.
“W,” as the series is being called, is a sort of simplified, hybrid title for fans of both the “Wizard of Oz” and “Wicked,” and the series will feature everything from the serious to the silly.
On one hand, Gramling will be tackling many important spiritual, emotional and relationship issues, examining characters in both the famous film and play as the starting point for helping his congregation to really examine themselves. On the other hand, worship services will include some fun and theatrics, including a musical performance of Kanye West's hit-single “Heartless” by the Tin Man.
Heredes Ribeiro, the creative pastor at Potential Church, told The Christian Post on Wednesday that everyone has, at some point in their lives, probably been able to relate to one of the characters that will be discussed in the “W” series.
"Our pastor, Troy Gramling, has always looked for ways to present the good news of the Gospel in ways that are both inviting to our community, but also memorable for our potential church members,” he said.
In preparation for “W,” the church facility has undergone dramatic visual changes in order to get members and visitors excited about the series. Cars in the parking lot have giant W's on them, and some things within the church (the bathrooms, lights and even the coffee creamer that they use) have been colored green.
The church has good reason to work so hard to change the scenery, too. Ribeiro says that this weekend is typically the Potential Church's third-highest attendance weekend of the year. They only do major scenery changes three times a year: Christmas, Easter, and their fall ministry kickoff (which is this upcominng weekend).
Since Gramling took over as lead pastor of Potential Church, its attendance has grown from 2,000 to over 13,000 people per weekend. The church currently has several campuses in Florida, in the cities of Miami, Pensacola, Cooper City and Hallandale Beach. It has one campus in Lima, Peru, and its services can also be viewed online.
“In the series entitled 'W,' we will journey down the yellow brick road with the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man to discover relationships filled with courage, romance and passion,” Gramling says. “Sometimes what we are looking for is closer than what we realize."