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The Spirit of Austin: The PromiseLand full of "lights, cameras and action"

Photo: Worshipers at the PromiseLand in Austin Photo: A PromiseLand Service in Austin

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Rock music, 10-12 piece bands and drums pumping out foot-tapping rhythms aren't traditionally thought of as part of a Sunday morning church service. But at the PromiseLand Church, on E. 51st Street, it's all part of the experience.

Photo: Pastor Randy Phillips"The makeup of every individual is to have this emotional experience. It's why movies do well. It's why television is so appealing. It's why we go to restaurants," said Randy Phillips, pastor at the PromiseLand.

"But when it comes to Christianity, for some reason, we think that needs to be a sterile, unplacid, unmoving event. And yet, when Jesus Christ walked the earth he was into it in a big performance driven way...He was doing miracles. It was lights, camera, action."

Many liberal theologians scoff may dismiss these services as show biz. But the PromiseLand Church, which practices the Pentecostal faith in Austin, attracts between 2,500 and 3,000 worshipers every Sunday.

The Pentecostal and Evangelical religions are growing in popularity across the country and are growing by double digits around the world, while other religions are seeing a slide in membership.

One traditional practice the church still encourages is speaking in tongues. Pastor Phillips says that research by a Harvard professor indicates that this practice answers all of our primal needs such as hope, speech and visions. People long for this kind of experience, according to Pastor Phillips.

Step inside the PromiseLand Church, a place that many Austinites consider a haven in a heartless world and a part of what makes Austin, Austin.

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Produced by Tom Spencer.


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