What is your church doing this Christmas?
Upon reflection after Christmas last year, Holy Trinity Adelaide realised that they had in fact run a major mission over the season. Apart from school visits, heritage tours and the Christmas services, three events in particular helped them to reach out to not-yet Christians. Over 3,000 people were reached. This is their story by Craig Broman:
Carols in the City:
Held on Dec 10th at the Adelaide Town Hall at 5.00pm & 7.00pm and attended by over 2,200 people
Carols in the City began as an end of year event for the Trinity community, complete with Sunday School presentations. About 8 years ago, we decided to put the not-yet Christian in the forefront of our thinking. Every segment, song, and part of the program from the welcoming to the carparking & advertising was worked out with the outsider primarily in view.
Over that time Carols attendance has soared from 500 to around 2,200 & two programmes. This year we had to turn away approximately 100 people. Over 2/3rds of the people who attend are outsiders. Attending this event is often the first step in their investigation of the Christian faith.
The unchanging aims of Carols are to honour Christ through:
- connecting Adelaide people & friends of Trinity members;
- proclaiming the gospel through the Christmas message; and
- promoting Trinity Church's place in the city of Adelaide (flyers are left in every hotel, backpackers and café around the city precinct).
This year we recorded the event for on-going promotion of the gospel. This will be available commercially through a Christian Production Company in October 2007.
The quality of the music is one of the key successes to the events, with something of a 1 Corinthian 14:24-25 effect on the non-believer. They hear over 1,100 voices singing God's praise and are so blown away, that they want to join in the worship & praise as well! This would be much more difficult to achieve with an outdoor event or a less public venue. This year, our Music Director and resident songwriter, Mark Peterson, was able to lift the event several notches up with his own carols arrangements, including several medleys.
The message and associated DVD component are always pitched at the outsider, aimed at challenging people with the gospel, & stretching their present assumptions, but not backing them into a corner so that they end up in fight or flight response mode! We always have gospels available for people to read and they are always taken at the end of the night!
One of the joys is to see so many of the Trinity community mobilised for proclaiming the gospel to their friends and to the City. It is an all-age gospel enterprise and this year had people from 9 to 90 years working together. The last two years we have incorporated carols singing and evangelism at the Adelaide Railway Station in the lead up to Carols. It has been great to see Trinity members engaging with commuters about God, Jesus and Christmas as they stop to listen to the carolers and then are provoked to talk about Christmas.
I think ultimately the carols themselves are one of the greatest assets for evangelism as they remain common currency, yet so succinctly proclaim the gospel and challenge people to serve and worship Jesus Christ.
The Steps to Christmas Steps:
The aim of "First Christmas Steps" was to provide an opportunity for the children in our midst to be able to invite their non-Christian friends along to events where they would learn about Jesus. The event itself was a nativity play set around Holy Trinity Church and involving members and leaders of our children's ministry. Here is a leader's first hand account:
"As I write this we are 2 weeks out from the "Event". The tension is building as is the excitement. I keep hearing reports of kids and aunties and uncles and grandparents and parents inviting friends and family along. I have spent the morning madly trying to find Angels' wings for the Angel Gabriel who will be video-ed in a few short hours in preparation for part of the "First Christmas Steps" presentation. I have had the Elizabeth character wanting to express herself in liturgical dance (I think she is joking) and the Angel Gabriel character wanting to be lowered from the ceiling with a flaming sword! It is easy in the midst of preparation to feel like things are a bit out of control, yet at the same time I continue to be amazed at God's answers to our prayers as we draw closer to the event. (I found some wings!)"
"Our prayer is that we will be faithful in telling the story of Luke 1 and 2. We pray that the children will invite many friends who will hear the Good News about Jesus and want to know Him more. Lastly we pray that God will be honored in all we do and say. May God in His mercy answer our prayers. To Him be the Glory."
First Christmas Steps was held on Dec 21st from 6.30-8.30pm and attended by over 250 people
Held on Nov 30th at the City, Nov 30th & Dec 1st in the Hills, and Nov 24th at the Bay (three Holy Trinity partner sites). These events were attended by over 650 women. At least 2/3rds were from outside the community.
Craig Broman has been associate pastor at Holy Trinity Adelaide for 11 years. He is a passionate persuader for Adelaide as a ministry destination, and enjoys days off with his wife, Merle, grazing the produce of the Adelaide Hills.