Because Easter represents new life, Stephens told congregants, it’s also an opportunity to start again and trust God anew. “That’s part of the richness of God’s love,” he says. “That [God] is going to give us the joy, and it’s going to be in the heart of pain that we go through as well, and that just makes me draw closer to God.”
Although Stephens’ church building wasn’t destroyed, smoke damage made it unusable for a few months. Church leaders across Colorado’s Front Range contacted him after the fire, asking how they could help. In early January, about 300 people assisted with cleanup efforts at Ascent, many of whom weren’t church members. “We’re going to walk through this together,” Stephens told a local TV station at the time.