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- ‘American Idiot’ at EPAC
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TNT Youth Ministry nixes Extreme Event
It was a tough decision, but financially it just couldn’t happen this year.
The TNT Youth Ministry’s Extreme Event, for a decade, drew hundreds of young people to Ephrata Park where they listened to big name Christian rock bands and other activities.
“TNT is a nonprofit, so we have to raise all of our own funds,” said Mike Wenger, executive director of TNT Youth Ministry. “Things are tight all the way around, giving isn’t the way it used to be. We have more employees now because the need is so much now.”
The first year the event was held at Ephrata Mennonite Church and attracted nearly 300 teens. Eventually, it was moved to Ephrata Park and quickly grew from a few hundred teens and local bands, to about a thousand teens and signed bands.
The four-hour event typically costs upwards of $9,000. That includes booking bands, lighting, sound, inflatables, food and more. Churches often chip in by sponsoring certain activities and organizations will set up booths. Recovering addicts from Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, will share testimonies.
However, because there is a need for the youth ministry in the community throughout the year, the money is needed to be spent on outreach.
“What we do is operate youth centers, so we’ve hired someone to help with that,” he said.
There are youth centers located in Ephrata, Akron, Lititz and East Earl Township. In addition, job duties include being a support to the Ephrata Area School District, if needed.
“We just have to pay our people,” he said.
The event could go on in the future, but more funds would be needed with help from the community.
In the meantime, the youth ministry will hold a 5K trail run/walk at Woodcrest Retreat Oct. 18 and a cross fit competition is in the works at Ephrata Fitness.
“We started here in Ephrata 14 years ago and we absolutely love the town of Ephrata,” he said. “We want to be something the community sees as a resource and to see the community be the best it can be.”
If churches, organizations or individuals want to help, visit TNTYouthMinistry.com or call 381-1688.