Sunday, September 08, 2013

Connecting Christmas 2013 with Easter 2014

I know it is only the second Sunday of September and most people are certainly not thinking Christmas right now.  But Sunday morning we made a huge Christmas announcement that has the potential to result in some amazing fruit.  Before I spring into the announcement, let me preface it with some thoughts.

There is no question that Christmas and Easter are the two biggest Sundays of the year in the American Church.  But it seems to me that most churches all do the same thing, be it the annual Christmas cantata or live nativity to the dramatic passion plays at Easter time.  I once heard a very successful pastor of a very large church say that if we want to reach people that no one is reaching we have to do things that no one is doing.  That got me thinking about Christmas and Easter.  What can we do as a church on these two huge holidays that no other church is doing in order to reach thousands of people that no other church is reaching?  This is where the idea stemmed from.

Along with that, let me also say that I believe that every once in a while the church needs to take a risk - a Spirit-led risk.  In other words, if we are going to reach our potential when it comes to meeting as many people as possible right where they are in order to help move them to where God wants them to be, then we have to at times try something way out of the box - something that could work but it might also be a total bust.  This idea falls into that "risk" category as well.

So here is what we are looking to do at Gaylord E-Free.  This Christmas season we want to encourage everyone who is part of our church to put Christmas lights up this year, even if you usually don't.  That sounds easy enough, doesn't it?  But wait!  There's more!  This year, not only do we want you to put Christmas lights up on the outside of your house, but we then want you to leave them up AND ON all the way through Easter.  You read it right.  We ware looking for at least 500 homes in our church to have their Christmas lights up and on every  night (or at least every weekend night) all the way through Easter.  Now, what will this accomplish?

First, it is going to be a visual message to our community that Christmas is connected to Easter.  You can't really understand Christmas without also understanding Easter.

Second, it will hopefully create a "buzz" in our community.  By about Valentine's Day there should be a lot of talk about why so many people still have their Christmas lights on.  That buzz will then only build through St Patrick's Day and April Fool's Day as Easter is not until later in April this year.  We then hope to do some creative advertising towards the end of that time-frame making the connection between the Christmas lights and coming to Gaylord E-Free on Easter.

Finally, it will give each person in our church who participates a pretty easy platform to talk about Jesus between Christmas and Easter.  Undoubtedly, at some point a neighbor or co-worker is going to ask you why you still have your Christmas lights on. This will give you the easy opportunity to say, "I'm keeping my lights on until Easter because to really understand Christmas you have to understand Easter."  What a great opening to talk about Jesus to others and invite others to come to E-Free on Easter.

So plan now to get your Christmas lights dug out of the attic, or bought from the store so that you can hang them up before winter sets in so you won't have excuse later not to participate!  Will it work?  I have no idea but I can't wait to see how God might use it as we all take this Christmas risk together!

Merry Easter, Everyone!

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