An online magazine for pastors and church leaders.

About This Issue

This October issue of Sunday| Mag is all about Christmas. The obvious question is, ?Why Christmas in October?? Well, we realize it?s good to start thinking about Christmas early. And even if you don?t plan to dive into the season until late November or even December, you can learn things now that will help you when you are ready to plan.

In this special issue, we?ll look at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee. We?ll peek in to see what they did last year for Christmas.

Please note: this isn?t a model for you to follow. It?s not the pinnacle of a perfect Christmas service. But I hope that by pointing a magnifying glass at what one church did, you can get inspired and maybe even get some ideas for your Christmas services/events this year. You might even see that you aren?t the only church experiencing limited time and budget.[quote]You aren?t the only church experiencing limited time and budget.[/quote]

Thoughtfully read through the articles from this month. Yes, it?s going to be fun to see what Cross Point Church did, but I also want you to examine what you can learn from their experience. Apply whatever you can to your own circumstances and situations. Jot notes in a Moleskin or in Evernote as you read. Capture ideas and thoughts you have while reading.

Then make Christmas awesome at your church. Create an experience that?s right for your congregation, your community, and your church culture.

The Event

Pete Wilson pastors Cross Point Church. You?ve probably heard of him from his books or conference appearances. But the church has an all-star team of folks who contribute to the creativity and execution of weekend services and events.

Last year, Pastor Pete called Stephen Brewster (Creative Arts Pastor) with a crazy idea. He wanted to put a snow sledding hill in their parking lot for Christmas. That seemed like a great idea. But they had no idea how to accomplish that. Of course, that didn?t stop the idea from snowballing into something much larger. It grew to include a Christmas village. A Christmas concert. ?Let?s make it a community event?a gift to the city. And let?s make it free!?

That?s what they did. With much less time than they would have liked, they pulled it off?an event over?four different days with six live music concerts. They called it ?A Merry Music City Christmas?.[quote]With much less time than they would have liked, they pulled it off?an event over?four different days with six live music concerts.[/quote]

This wasn?t a special Christmas service; it was a midweek event. They held the outdoor-fun activities in their parking lot, and they had the Christmas concerts in their building.

The outdoor activities included many different Christmas-themed options for those who attended. They had:

  • An outdoor snow sledding hill (real snow, in Tennessee)
  • Ice skating (again, real ice in Tennessee)
  • Train rides
  • Food trucks
  • Christmas tree forests
  • Make-your-own s?more stations with small bonfires
  • Rock climbing
  • A hot chocolate bar

Each day the activities were open for a few hours, then they encouraged those attending to move inside their building for the free Christmas concert.

The Christmas concert consisted of Christmas carols from the Cross Point worship band, a short message from Pete, and some special guest artists (different ones each day). Carlos Whittaker emceed the live concerts.

They also filmed a special segment to illustrate the generous gift that God gave us through Christmas. They chose one volunteer who was struggling financially, and gave them a Christmas shopping spree at the mall. While the family was out shopping, the Cross Point team transformed their house for Christmas?decking it out with Christmas cheer. Of course the tears flowed from the family when they came home to the Christmas wonderland. And of course the video wasn?t over yet. The final gift to the family was a new minivan.

The video ended each night and transitioned perfectly into Pete Wilson?s talk. After that, they ended with a few more songs and the night was over.

The musical guests included:

  • Jo Dee Messina (Wednesday)
  • Denver and the Mile-High Orchestra (Wednesday and Thursday)
  • Matt Wertz (Thursday)
  • Natalie Grant (Friday)
  • Brandon Heath (Saturday, matinee)
  • Plumb (Saturday, evening)

The Cross Point band accompanied each musical artist during the concert. This was just one of the many difficulties they faced putting on this event. They also had to deal other things like:

  • Safety concerns for the outdoor activities
  • Parking, since the event took place in their parking lot
  • Paying for this when they hadn?t planned for it early on or budgeted for it

Despite the challenges (which we?ll explore throughout this month), they succeeded in creating the event and ultimately met the goals they were working toward achieving. Those goals were to give a gift of Christmas to the Nashville area and to show their community what Cross Point Church is?all about. They reached over 5,000 people through the concert, and even more through the outdoor event.[quote]They wanted to?give a gift of Christmas to the Nashville area and to show their community what Cross Point Church is?all about.[/quote]

Stay tuned the rest of this month for the full story on Christmas at Cross Point Church. Or, if you’re a?Sunday| Mag Insider, click through and read the whole issue now.



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