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Swarm preparing for Faith & Family Night

Matisz visits Gwinnett Church to meet lacrosse fans ahead of Faith & Family Night

How do you follow up an electrifying win against a division rival?

For Swarm forward Kiel Matisz, it meant sharing his love of lacrosse in front of a standing room only crowd.

Matisz further celebrated the Swarm’s 17-12 win against the New England Black Wolves on Saturday, March 24 with a visit to Gwinnett Church the next morning. With Swarm owners John and Andy Arlotta in attendance for the services, Matisz, alongside Pastor Jeff Henderson, delivered some exciting news about the Swarm’s Faith & Family Night to the nearly 5,000 people at the services.

Matisz was quickly impressed by the church community welcoming him with open arms, noting he was so charged up by the congregation that he wanted to immediately go play a game.

“It was just such a great day when you look back at it, not only with the church in the morning, but giving back with two clinics, with Mountain View and Peachtree Ridge in the afternoon,” Matisz said. “It was a great day to give back to the community and share the sport that I love and grew up playing … it was really an empowering event for me.”

That empowered feeling is something the Swarm plans to feel on April 8 when it takes on the Toronto Rock. Georgia will be hosting its inaugural Faith & Family Night and fans will enjoy halftime and postgame performances from North Point InsideOut band.

Planning for the night has been months in the making. This past Sept., Swarm President Andy Arlotta met up with Darren Youngstrom, the InsideOut Director at North Point Community Church. The two discussed the possibility of a Faith & Family Night and how it could be impactful for high school ministry at North Point.

Youngstrom told Arlotta about their campaign “Kindness is Cool,” which was created to teach his kids how to combat bullying and incorporate acts of charity into their everyday lives. Arlotta loved it immediately and wanted to make it the theme of the Swarm’s inaugural Faith & Family Night.

“We just thought it’d be cool if kids began to believe that, could see that kindness is actually cool, that kindness is what wins,” Youngstrom said. “There are students that are living that way, and we just wanted to promote the idea that, ‘Hey, you know what, you don’t have to tear people apart to be cool. You don’t have to be so angry about it. You can be kind, and that’s good.’”

North Point Community Church is part of North Point Ministries, a non-denominational, evangelical Christian organization with worldwide recognition. Founded by senior pastor Andy Stanley in 1995, North Point Ministries has six churches in the Atlanta area, including Gwinnett Church which Matisz visited on March 25.

In addition to being the name of the Christian band that sold out Infinite Energy Arena in March 2017, North Point Community Church’s high school ministry also bears the moniker InsideOut. Youngstrom has challenged the youth in InsideOut throughout the year to really internalize “Kindness is Cool,” and the acts of kindness his students have performed have been astounding.

One of Youngstrom’s students went to a nearby Steak & Shake one day and asked the waitress if she could pray for her. The waitress said yes and told the InsideOut student about her father who had passed away recently and how her and her sister were struggling financially. Youngstrom’s student told the other students of InsideOut about the waitress that night, and the students immediately took up an offering. She returned to visit the waitress with $1,800 and gave it to her so she could have help paying her bills.

“I’m extremely proud to see how these kids are making an impact in our community and how it’s benefitting them as well,” Arlotta said. “It’s a level of kindness that we at the Swarm strive for throughout our organization.”

Youngstrom and InsideOut plan on bringing that positive energy to The Hive on April 8. Youngstrom and his team were blown away by their first Swarm game (a 14-13 OT win against the Rock on Feb. 17), and he could not wait to tell his students about how much fun they were going to have on Sunday.

The entertainment will not be limited to just the floor action as the Swarm has North Point InsideOut band performing during halftime and postgame. InsideOut is no stranger to Infinite Energy Arena, having sold out the arena before.

Founded in 1995, InsideOut leads worship for the weekly InsideOut student gathering. The group has released three albums, and its sophomore album, Hear, reached No. 193 on the Billboard 200 and the Christian Albums chart at No. 2. It was led by the single “Death was Arrested” feat. Seth Condrey.

“They have a great combination of really fun, upbeat, up-tempo songs that make you feel good, and they have really good songs that speak about who God really is and just draw you into a place of contemplation,” Youngstrom said.

Georgia takes on the Toronto Rock on April 8. Faceoff is set for 4:05 p.m. ET at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena. Tickets are available at GeorgiaSwarm.com/Faith or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.

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