The genesis of Cross Point Church?s ?A Merry Music City Christmas? was a wish from Pastor Pete Wilson to have snow sledding outside of their Christmas services. Leadership started with the?idea of sledding. Then the scope of the idea grew, and they knew they needed to get more people involved in making this happen. It changed from a relatively simple idea to a complex idea that involved a full outdoor experience and live musical concerts.
The Heart for the Event
The team started from scratch on the event, with a blank slate. Pastor Pete?s only wish in the whole thing was sledding and a fun Christmas experience. Pete Wilson loves Christmas?even gets giddy about it.
As leadership wrestled with the idea of the event, they realized they wanted to create an unheard-of outdoor winter experience as a gift back to Nashville. They wanted the outdoor portion of the event to be an onramp for people?an easy ask for their congregation to invite their neighbors.
They knew this would stretch the whole staff. But one of the things they believe about leadership and team dynamics is that you don?t grow incrementally. A team grows by setting audacious goals and accomplishing them together. That?s why they always set big faith goals and dreams for their church. They give everything they have, and God makes it work?week in and week out.[quote]A team grows by setting audacious goals and accomplishing them together.[/quote]
As much as this event was a gift to their community, they knew it would be an even bigger gift to the team. They knew it would galvanize and elevate their team dynamic as well as their creativity.
Wrestling with the Goal
Part of making this audacious goal a success was some serious wrestling with the event itself?both the heart behind it and the implementation of their ideas. This all happened under severe deadlines and with a very short timeline?two months.
They deliberated quite a bit about creating value in the outdoor experience versus focusing on the indoor concert experience. Which one was the most important part of the event? Would people come to the event only for the outdoor experiences and skip the concert? Was that okay? Was the event a failure if nobody came to the indoor concert experience?the part that held the Gospel message and the ?heart? of the event?[quote]Was the event a failure if nobody came to the indoor concert experience?the part that held the Gospel message and the ?heart? of the event?[/quote]
They identified the outdoor experience as extremely attractional. The goal of the outdoor experience was to get people onto their campus. Was the outdoor event enough to give them a glimpse into the heart of Cross Point Church?
Inside, during the hour-long presentation, there would be lots of music and a short message. The message from Pastor Pete?based on the Beetles song, “Let it Be”?was something that would really drive the point home for the event.
Ultimately, they realized they had to be content with getting people onto their campus. The goal was to give a gift to the city?not necessarily to force people into a concert/church experience. They found that even though many didn?t make it inside for the concert experience, many people are now attending Cross Point with this event being their first encounter with the church.
Wrestling with Implementation
Who would they assign to put together an event like this? It wasn?t like they had a staff member who was particularly skilled with creating outdoor events. The church hadn?t attempted anything like this before.[quote]The church hadn?t attempted anything like this before.[/quote]
So of course, they assigned it to the Next Generations Pastor, Zach Steiger. Student ministry is probably the most closely related area to something like this?though that was a stretch. They tasked him with figuring out much of the implementation of the ideas as well as the liability issues they might encounter.
The plan for snow sledding started with?making their own home-brew version. They contemplated building their own out of hay and wood. Suddenly things got scary. How would they create something sturdy enough to handle that much weight in snow? Did they know any structural engineers?
Eventually, they realized they should instead look for ways they could rent these types of things. Using vendors covered them in most areas. The vendors they used had liability release forms for each of their own apparatuses.
For the snow hill, in particular, they found a vendor out of Atlanta that brought in his own rig. It was a fully contained system on a trailer. It had a conveyer belt system and the vendor blew real snow over the whole thing when he arrived at the church. They had thousands of kids (and adults) going down that thing.
Another potential liability they had to deal with was the fire codes for having fire pits at their church. Would they get away with having small bonfires in their parking lot? They were tempted not to ask any questions (it?s easier to ask pardon than permission), but they realized it was important to ask and be safe. They wanted to make sure everything was above board. They accomplished the fire pits by purchasing fire bowls you?d use on your back porch and setting those up.[quote]They were tempted not to ask any questions, but they realized it was important to ask and be safe.[/quote]
Finally, they had to get people involved in volunteering. They needed manpower if they hoped to take care of thousands of people coming onto their property.
They pitched the idea of the event as a way to love their city like it has never been loved before. ?If you want to be part of giving Christmas to people who wouldn?t otherwise have a chance to experience it, we want you to get involved.? They saw a huge number of volunteers sign up and give of their time sacrificially.
The event was pure Christmas. They had Christmas music everywhere, Christmas bands, Dickens characters, carolers, Christmas trees. It was a Christmas extravaganza that required great leadership. And the whole team stepped up to make the event a smash success.