Former Chicago Bear Jerome King attempts to break a baseball bat over his head during a performance by the John Jacobs Next Generation Power Force on Sunday at New Creation Church in Craig. More than 400 people attended the two performances put on by the Power Force.

Photo by Mary Austin

Former Chicago Bear Jerome King attempts to break a baseball bat over his head during a performance by the John Jacobs Next Generation Power Force on Sunday at New Creation Church in Craig. More than 400 people attended the two performances put on by the Power Force.

Body-building worship group inspires Craig congregation

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“I think that it was really entertaining but at the same time the message was really hopeful and uplifting. People really enjoyed it — we had so many people who were glad they came.”

—Jessica Ashton, New Creation Church member, about the Next Generation Power Force’s performance Sunday at the church

New Creation Church members were awed by feats of tremendous strength Sunday, as well as personal stories.

The John Jacobs Next Generation Power Force team conducted two services at the church, 520 Westridge Road.

The team of former bodybuilders and NFL players prompted big crowds, congregation member Jessica Ashton said.

At the first performance Sunday morning, the church was just under capacity, with about 170 people in attendance.

For the evening performance, 262 people showed up at New Creation, which has seating for 180 people.

“Every seat was taken,” Ashton said. “We only have about 180 seats so we had a lot of people standing. So many people brought others back with them at night and we got a lot of new people as well.”

Ashton said the feats of strength, which included bending steel rods, ripping phone books and breaking baseball bats, were amazing.

But, she said they didn't obscure the message being delivered.

“I think that it was really entertaining, but at the same time the message was really hopeful and uplifting,” she said. “People really enjoyed it — we had so many people who were glad they came.”

New Creation Church Pastor Jason Haskell was a surprise participant in the performance.

He had a soda can smashed against his forehead.

“Jerome King took a Sprite can and shook it up,” Haskell said. “I just braced myself and he smashed it on my forehead. It blew the soda can in half and soda went everywhere.

“It was just a shock, a momentary shock. Afterward I opened my eyes and was like, ‘Hey, I’m still alive.’”

The performance included testimonies from the Power Force about the role God has played in their lives.

Ashton said those stories affected the attendees a great deal. In particular, one showcase of strength included former NFL player Jerome King, who broke a pair of handcuffs to symbolize freeing himself from the shackles in his life.

“It was amazing. I’ve had two people tell me that their entire families were changed in their thinking,” Ashton said. “We had the majority of the congregation stand up and say they wanted to dedicate their life to the Lord. It’s so amazing that all those people were affected.”

Ashton said the goal now for New Creation is to keep that positive message alive.

“We’re going to do follow up and see if anybody has questions or prayers,” she said. “We want to keep that message of hope going.”

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