By Tammy Tilley
Everybody tunes in to Christmas. On December 25, stores close, work shuts down, and everyone stops what they normally would be doing to celebrate.
What, exactly, they’re celebrating is a different story. As culture grows more post-Christian, no longer can we assume families know the story of Christ coming to earth as a baby; if they do know the story, they may see it only as a legend or myth.
What do we do to redeem the season in our communities? How do we point our neighbors, schools, and family members back to Jesus in any sort of resonant, meaningful way?
Warner Press helps provide the answer in the book, Re-creating Christmas: A DIY Outreach for Churches of Any Size. It details everything you need to build the town of Bethlehem in your community, solicit volunteers, and advertise your event. In so doing, we plop those who come right in the middle of the Christmas story. We set the scene, costume the characters, and enable each person to EXPERIENCE Bethlehem, 1 AD. They become part of the narrative of Jesus coming to earth for them. Nothing is quite as personal or powerful.
This helpful book places in your hands the opportunity to dream, pray, and create an interactive experience no matter the size of your church or budget. The book also provides ideas, creativity, online assistance, photographs, scripts, and encouragement you need to pull off a Christ-centered Christmas outreach with kingdom-size results.
By offering this experience, Scripture comes to life. Unbelievers, skeptics, and seekers bring their kids, and as a family, they hear the angel shout, “Fear not!” They smell the baking bread or the stinky stable. They come against the mighty Roman soldiers and more, until they arrive at the place where the baby Jesus rests. There, they pause, awestruck by the wonder of this reality in front of them.
Re-creating Christmas also provides testimonials from churches who have offered similar events, including Maple Grove Church of God (Anderson); East Side Church of God (Anderson); Mountain Park (Phoenix); and others. Readers learn from the experiences these churches have had and the miracles they have witnessed from hosting their events. In particular, East Side Church of God and pastor Mary Ann Randolph provided much of the information in the book, as they have hosted their own Christmas event for several years.
One person said this about the event her church held:
One mom shared with me her son had stopped going to church—he wasn’t sure he even believed in God anymore. But he came to the outreach with us, and later he told them his faith had been restored because of [our Christmas outreach].
—(Name withheld), Volunteer
Another church volunteer shares this in the book:
We started very small our first year, with just our youth group. Bethlehem consisted of a few kids and a couple of dolls. Twenty-five people came, and we thought we were a great success. The next year, we thought we’d have a choir!… It rained, and they sang in the rain wearing white sheets, soaked and dripping. The following year, we added plywood storefronts, and God orchestrated something on a crazy level. I’m still stunned. We’re a church of 200 people including kids and the elderly. Now, over 5,000 people come to our event.
—Gayle Shriner, Discovery Baptist, Gig Harbor, WA
You are definitely not alone as you consider organizing a Christmas outreach. When you purchase Re-creating Christmas, you gain free, unlimited access to numerous online items to help with your event. These resources include:
• An organizational spreadsheet
• A promotional video for your church
• Tutorials for building your town
• Costume tutorials
• Printable activity sheets
• Artwork for six or more advertising pieces
Pray over the process. Determine not to allow Satan to overwhelm or create discouragement. He will try, but as a strong, Christ-focused body, rebuke any evil power that tries to destroy what is already rightfully God’s. Ask God to bless it, and he will.
Let’s take back Christmas for the kingdom’s sake. Let’s give people an eternal reason to celebrate. Let’s re-create the real Christmas.
Re-creating Christmas: A DIY Outreach for Churches of Any Size is available for purchase either in hard copy or as an e-publication at www.warnerpress.org/RecreatingChristmas. It is also available for purchase at the June 27–30 Convention 2019 and General Assembly in Orlando. Visit the Warner Press table for this and many other resources.