Pastor Michael Todd isn’t afraid of raising eyebrows. The lead pastor of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, once rubbed saliva in his brother’s face while preaching about Jesus’ miracles. He cuddled a mannequin in bed onstage while preaching about relationships. And his church recently hired disgraced former Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz.
Now Todd, 36, and Transformation Church have made headlines for Sunday’s over-the-top Easter service, which featured a play titled “Ransom.” Although the church hasn’t posted the entire production online, clips went viral on social media. While some commentators described it as creative and akin to the “Christian Grammys,” others said it verges on demonic and blasphemous.
Transformation Church Easter Show Went ‘Right to the Edge’
The modern, alternative Easter service at Transformation Church featured dozens of dancers, a light show, flames, demon characters, dry ice, and secular music. The production used songs from pop stars such as Ke$ha, Beyoncé, and Justin Timberlake—sometimes with lyric changes. (YouTuber Nick Jones speculates that the church hasn’t posted the service due to copyright-infringement issues.)
In one skit, performers talked about the size of their rear ends. During another part of the show, a singer wore trendy red boots and sang, “I been getting to the money. Everybody mad.”
In his sermon message, Pastor Todd described the origin story of the unusual Easter production. When he became pastor of Transformation Church in 2015, he said, “I didn’t know what a pastor did” and had “never preached an Easter message.” So he decided the church needed to produce a play.
That first year, Todd was determined to go “right to the edge,” he said, doing anything “short of sin” to communicate the Gospel message. This year, with more funds and performers, he said they could reach the “level of anointing and excellence” he originally intended.
Todd, author of “Relationship Goals” and “Crazy Faith,” had told congregants they wouldn’t “want to miss” this year’s Easter celebrations at Transformation Church. Two days after Easter, he described the weekend’s impact, sharing on Instagram that “600+ people gave their life over to Christ.” The pastor wrote, “All I can say is: THANK YOU JESUS FOR PAYING MY RANSOM!”
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Over-the-Top Easter Production Draws Mixed Reviews
In online comments, some people admitted that Transformation Church’s Easter show was “definitely creative.” One person tweeted: “They done put on an Oscar, Tony and Grammy award winning production.” Another wrote: “I’m not sure if God is centered in it. Then again, everyone wades in water at the depth of their own understanding, so if it works for them.”