Other than Christmas Eve, most holiday-type events soon coming up in America are non-Christian: New Year’s Eve, The Super Bowl, Valentine’s day, maybe St. Pattie’s day, and for sure Mother’s Day. To create bridge building worship on these secular holy-days, discern the heart of what the public is probably looking for. Here is my take on these upcoming days:
Christmas Eve: AUTHENTICITY.
People want something real and are hard pressed to find it. Christmas is so commercial. People who do not believe in God celebrate Christmas and those who believe in God but not Jesus celebrate Christmas. People who do believe in God and Jesus celebrate Christmas without much mention of any type of savior.
Many such persons attend church because they’re visiting relatives that attend. And what do they find? Cutesy. An older woman on a rocking chair reading the Christmas story to a little kid … ok, it’s the Christmas story. But everyone has heard that. They heard that story delivered in the same way at the same time last year, and the year before. So, they walk away just as empty as when they came in. Tell the Christmas story. But tell it in a way that shows redemption. How has Jesus’ birth changed you, and how does Jesus’ birth have the potential to change me, and also the world? How has it been hard and how has it been amazing? That’s real.
Give regular attenders an invitation tool to invite friends and family: a real story for real people. Then, do not let them down.
New Year’s Eve: HOPE.
I often feel down in the dumps on New Year’s Eve. Another year is coming up with many of the same stressors I’ve been dealing with for the many previous years before this New Year. A need to lose weight, get healthy, save more money, find a lasting relationship, improve my relationship with my spouse, my S.O., my kids, better grades, better raises … New Year’s Eve represents a chance for change. And the result? Back to the same old habits this coming year. We know that going in. Still, we try, even though deep down we are cynical.
What is change anyway? Is it all those external desires we have, or is it something down deep? If it’s the latter, then it’s spiritual. Behavioral change grows from a deeper belief in something outside yourself. In Christianity, faith in Jesus leads to discipleship. Discipleship is behavioral change. New Year’s Eve is about living life differently this year. When you follow Jesus, you can.
Give regular attenders an invitation tool to invite friends and family: promises you can keep. Talk about your own journey toward true hope because of following Jesus, and show others how they can do the same.
NEXT WEEK: The Super Bowl and Identity
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