This past weekend in Discovery Village reminded me why we do what we do. This past weekend had been talked about and prayed over for about a month. And God truly met us.
We shared the Christmas story in our elementary environments. Yep, that one… with the shepherds and angels, the manger, Mary and Joseph, and of course the star of the story, Baby Jesus. This is really a simple story, not many props or lights, glitz or glamor, but a story that is powerful nonetheless.
This was especially true because we made a conscious effort to talk with our kids about why Jesus was born in the first place. We kicked off a storyline that will take us through Easter. Our storytellers presented Jesus as the savior of the world born to people who’d been waiting for him for hundreds of years. He came and brought light into the darkness, hope to the despair.
Our storytellers rehearsed and prepped throughout the week. My intern wrapped 16 baby dolls in swaddling clothes – which actually looked pretty creepy by the way with 16 dolls randomly lying across the floor of our prop room. I was thrilled as I had the chance to speak in 4/5th grade twice as two of our storytellers had prior commitments. The worship teams rocked it out with “Gloria” (from Jingle Jam) and “Salvation is Here.” The kids were riveted to the story and sang their hearts out. The day just felt really great.
With the help of our coaches, we prepped small group leaders in telling their own Jesus story. High school students, college students, Jesus followers new and old were prepared to share the difference Jesus makes in their own lives. They were excited. We got phone calls and e-mails all week from leaders who kept sharing that they expected great things. I received notes from Twitter friends that they were praying for our services, praying expecting God to move. Just cool stuff happening all week. Our small group leaders showed up (with hardly any subs!) ready for action and spoke with clarity in their groups.
And I have nothing more to report.
I know, as you read this some of you are expecting numbers of decisions made. We don’t do alter-calls or raise your had invitations. We’re not evangelists; we’re partners with parents. We shared THE story, we shared OUR stories, and we prepped our parents with what we were discussing this week. We want parents to have these conversations at home. Our kids heard the message of Jesus, and we prayed that the conversations at home were more about the real meaning of Christmas than about what was for lunch. It’s a bit risky, but our kids need their parents to own this part of the faith journey.
This is what it means to be an Orange church. We are faithful to our part and help parents be faithful to theirs. We’re still praying for the stories being written in the lives of our kids this week. The task doesn’t end with a Sunday; in many ways it just begins as we cultivate the message of hope and love in our children and in our homes.
We pray expecting God to move… and know he will.