A Christmas gift with a difference

img_4081-3 Last Sunday our Sunday Service was cancelled, but it was for a good reason. It’s the day when we have Christmas with our community.  Grace Church does this every year, in the lead up to Christmas. After years of trying to get people along to a church service they decided to try something different. They would throw a Christmas Party and invite everyone to come.

They don’t hide the fact: it’s a day of entertainment. But it is also a great opportunity to get to know people one-on-one, in a neutral environment. There are no guards up. People are relaxed. And because of that, so are we. Conversations about spiritual things develop naturally, rather than being forced. I think this is the way Jesus intended it to be.

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Matty Grant taking some guys through the Good person test

This year however, we did work on being more intentional in getting the true meaning of Christmas across. We invited Matthew Grant from Assist Ministries to come with his flip-chart and walk people through the Good Person test. He had some great conversations with people, where they had to think hard about where they are at with God. Matty told me that after taking a school student through it, the guy said “this is the best test I’ve ever taken ever!”

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My wife Francelle (the one doing the stirring!) and Julie setting up for the candy floss

We also had a bead-making table for kids, and each one of the beads is a special colour which represents something about the person of Jesus and why he came. Some of our ladies had some great conversations with children, with their parents standing in the background listening.  Non-threatening, with a good object lesson and a clear message.  It’s a winner.

But even apart from those more intentional steps, people in the community were absolutely blessed. For example, we had a solo-mum who couldn’t believe the various rides were free.  She said, “I took my children to the A&P show some weeks back, and they begged to have a turn, but I couldn’t afford it. And here it’s free!”  Yes it is – all of it.  That’s the way our God works.  He loves giving generously, without requiring any payment.  Therefore so should we.

Sandra lining up a shot with a family

Sandra lining up a shot with a family

Sandra’s photo studio was also a winner.  Many families would love to have a professional photographer take pictures of their family, but can’t afford it.  Sandra (who attends our church) has her own photography business. On this day she offers her services for free. There were plenty of takers lining up for this one.

There’s one other bonus to all this and that is what it does for our church family. We learn to work together as a team.

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When I arrived early on Sunday morning, it was like watching an army of ants at work.  Equipment was carried out, BBQ’s were rolled out, outdoor furniture was set up in lickety-split time. Everyone knew what to do and everyone was willing to help.  I guess you could say that’s the way every good organization should operate.  All the same, I think it’s special when you see it happening in God’s church.

img_4052The party finished with a special talk for all the children about the true meaning of Christmas.  For many of them, this was the only opportunity they would get to hear about Jesus and why he came. I think the picture speaks for itself.  Happy Birthday Jesus!

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