New SonRise ticket distribution targets non-Adventist community members

Wilson Kelley portrays the crucifixion of Jesus and screams as the
cross is being lowered into the ground.
April 16, 2022 (Photo by Xander Ordinola)
Wilson Kelley portrays the crucifixion of Jesus and screams as the cross is being lowered into the ground. April 16, 2022 (Photo by Xander Ordinola)

Written by: Alexis Dewey

Each year, free tickets are passed out for SonRise, an Easter event held annually on Southern Adventist University’s campus and organized by the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists, according to the church’s website. However, this year, the church is changing the way in which tickets are distributed to reach more non-Adventists than ever before. 

SonRise is a reenactment of Jesus’ last days on Earth. Attendees walk through this event with biblical characters like Peter, John and Mary Magdalene.

  In the past, church members handed out SonRise tickets to the community early in the morning at Hamilton Place Mall, said Tim Cross, one of the associate pastors and a staff member on the ticketing project. Last year, for the first time, they gave tickets away online. This year, the church board decided to change the distribution methods again in an effort to impact a more diverse group of community members. However, according to Cross, “students will be able to receive tickets exactly as they have in the past.”

Students can receive tickets from Teri Reutebuch in the Student Development office, which will be able to hand out the same amount of tickets to students as years prior. 

However, this year, community tickets will be available to those who fit a certain description.

“We have defined our target for ticket distribution to be primarily people who live within 30 miles of the Collegedale Church, are not Seventh-day Adventists and have never before experienced SonRise,” said Cross.

Cross said this change was proposed to the church’s administrative team and later approved by the ministry team during a staff meeting. He added that it was voted on by the church board, as well.

When asked how the church’s ticket distribution team will determine if someone is an Adventist, where they live and if they have ever been to SonRise, Cross said the process primarily relies on “the honor system of the ticket target leaders and those they invite.”  According to Cross, he interacts with the ticket target leaders and has them each fill out an application. He said he can normally tell a lot from just a quick interaction. 

Cross has received applications from a large number of people to be ticket target leaders. These volunteers are currently helping several people get tickets.

There is another new aspect regarding tickets this year, said Cross. All volunteers ages seven and up, including Southern students, who volunteer for SonRise will be able to collect an additional three tickets while supplies last, due to the limited number of tickets available. 

The church’s biggest goal with this change is mission, according to Cross. 

“[We want people to] choose to walk with Jesus, and we would love to personally join in their journey,” he explained.

Cross said he believes this new ticket distribution method will result in a high number of attendees who want to make a commitment to follow Christ for the first time. 

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