I recently had the privilege of attending a lollapalooza put on by Dexter Baptist Church in western Kentucky. Pastor David Little led his church to plan and implement the lollapalooza event as an effort to reach out to their community. I had never attended a lollapalooza and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. In fact, I’m not sure I could’ve spelled lollapalooza without googling it on my computer.
So where did this word come from? Legend and Encyclopedia Britannica have it that musician Perry Farrell claims to have named a large international music festival Lollapalooza back in 1991 after hearing the word. The popularity and use of the word grew.
People have developed this positive association with ‘-palooza’ and it’s become kind of shorthand. People have hosted a saleapalooza, gameapalooza, kidzapalooza, doggiepalooza and a variety of others you’ve no doubt come across.
Webster’s dictionary defines a lollapalooza as “one that is extraordinarily impressive; also: an outstanding example”.
What Dexter Baptist did was indeed, “extraordinarily impressive”. This church that normally averages around 60 in Sunday morning worship had 89 people attend their lollapalooza that included music by a Christian band, free food (and lots of it), door prizes and giveaways, bouncy houses and games, and a presentation of the gospel. The most exciting thing about their lollapalooza was that four individuals committed their lives to following Christ and another person recommitted his life to Christ.
Dexter Baptist also set “an outstanding example” of how a church can reach out and touch more people through a community event like a lollapalooza than they do on any given Sunday morning. Yes, it took lots of planning, work, promoting and inviting. But it was worth it to see so many spiritual decisions made.
The church went outside, the community was engaged and it was a great evening together. But nothing was more “extraordinarily impressive” than the life transformation I witnessed as people experienced the salvation of Jesus Christ. Let me challenge you to follow the example of the Dexter church and plan something extraordinarily impressive to reach your community for Christ.