The moment the First Baptist Church of Glenarden opened its doors Friday night, nearly 3,000 teenagers rushed inside for a high-octane worship service.

Inside the Upper Marlboro mega-church, a large digital clock was at four minutes and counting down. When the numbers reached zero, the Christian go-go band Vertical exploded into view. Hundreds rushed the stage and the sanctuary was filled with spiritual music.

“Let’s salute the living Christ who rose on the third day,” the lead singer told the crowd. “Where you go, I go. What you say, I say. What you do, I do. What you pray, I pray.”

The beat and rhythm had the young people on their feet during the two-hour worship service that was part of Merge 2011, a joint ministry started by First Baptist and Zion Church of Landover.

The ministry included music and poetry. Actors presented a story of Jesus rescuing a young woman from a gang. Pizza and frozen treats were offered.

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