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Church puts on a service unlike any other

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 6, 2013

 The Love Life cheerleaders watch as a group of boys from the church perform a step routine where they create a rhythmic beat using steps, stomps, claps and snaps.

The Love Life cheerleaders watch as a group of boys from the church perform a step routine where they create a rhythmic beat using steps, stomps, claps and snaps.

Photo by Sara Kandel


EASTPOINTE — It’s before noon on a Sunday, but there is an excitement in the air. The crowd is clad in purple — some carry pompoms, others have ribbons in their hair, a few dance as they make their way to their seats and the music starts.

It’s a hip-hop beat. A DJ, donning a purple jersey, takes the mic and offers a little lyrical styling to amp up the crowd.

“Get in the game. Get in the game. Get in the game,” Tanika Knighton calls out with a singsong voice in perfect tempo with the music.

“Get in the game. Come on. Get in the game. I can’t hear you,” she sings out as the crowd begins to chant and pompoms begin to shake. Get in the game. Get in the game.

“I know you all can do better than that. Come on. Here we go. Let me hear you scream. I said, let me hear you scream,” she calls out and the room roars to life. “Right now, we are going to welcome our fabulous, dynamic cheerleaders. Whoop. Whoop. Whoop. Whoop. Come on, cheerleaders!”

Two-dozen cheerleaders rush in, doing cartwheels and kicks as they take their place in front of the crowd.

“Spirit. Ready. Set. Yeah, yeah, we got spirit. Yeah, yeah, we got what, what, what, what, what, what, what, what, what, we got spirit. Yeah, yeah, we got spirit.”

The crowd goes wild cheering and clapping.

This is not a football game or pep rally. This is Vision Sunday at Love Life Family Christian Center Feb. 17.

“Vision Sunday is about casting a vision, for our church and our community,” said Pastor Kevin Lancaster.

“My desire is for us to be a true community church, and I wanted to get everyone on board. This has a lot more lasting effect, because of the excitement. People want to be a part of something that is moving — that is alive.”

Perhaps the best way to describe the service is as “alive.” Over the course of the next two hours, parishioners and guests were treated to song, dance, cheering, free-styling, stepping, a live telecast from their church in Africa and a free-throw competition while the church unveiled its Fab Four events of 2013.

The first event takes place the weekend of March 30, when the church will take over East Detroit High School to perform the play, “I Want to be Free,” at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 30. The following day, a surprise musical guest will be performing at the church service.

“Fab event No. 2 is the Love Life Block Party on June 29. Yes, you heard right — a community-wide block party to introduce ourselves to the community and have fun while evangelizing. We will shut Eastpointe down in the area of Ash and Lambrecht. While dancing in the streets, instead of getting jiggy with it, we will get Jesus with it,” Knighton called out to the crowd in a voice that echoed through the hoots and cheers.

Vacation bible school from Aug. 20-23 marked the third Fab Four event.

“We expect great things, so we will kick off with a parade Aug. 17 through the neighborhood,” Knighton said. “That’s right. There will be floats, banners and bears, oh my. We will also have a marching band. Our ministry team will make their very own float, so mark your calendars.”

The fourth event is a community harvest festival in September.

“These events will engage and allow our ministry team to serve and fundraise at the same time, while showing the community what Love Life is all about,” Knighton said.

At the end of the service, Lancaster offered a short but engaging sermon.

“Eastpointe is not supposed to be the same as a result of Love Life Family Ministries,” Lancaster said before generating rounds of applause and cheers for each performance that morning. “… My wife says this all the time: ‘Teamwork makes the dream work.’ At Love Life, we have a great vision.

“Our vision is to see men, women, girls and boys come to God. Our vision is to see families become stronger. Our vision is to see men take their rightful place, not just in their homes, but in their communities and in their workplace. Our dream is to see our children excel, not just in their schoolwork, but in every single area of their lives. Our vision is to reunite the dream and the passion that as Christians we are supposed to have. We are not designed to just slip by in the world. If everyone is moving forward together, then the success takes care of itself. If you continue to move forward, success is inevitable.”

Love Life Family Christian Center is located at 17363 Toepfer in Eastpointe. For more information, call (586) 775-5683 or visit