(Hopefully we are friends after this post . . .)
So we've started working on Christmas eve at Connexus already. I know . . . I know . . . it's July. We want (need) to get the ball rolling.
We're working on some great creative concepts and have started to block out some big ideas. Our goal for Christmas Eve is to present this incredible message that God came to earth in Jesus. We want to create the kind of service that we all can invite our friends to and clearly present this idea that God isn't passively waiting for us to find Him but that He took the first move to come to us.
We've started looking into locations and are running into some snags. We originally were thinking about the Barrie Molson Centre and doing a "kidstuf" sort of event where we would invite families to fun/wacky/great family experience. We liked the BMC because it's a neutral space – the kind of place we think folks who don't normally attend church might be less creeped out with attending at – we want to keep the spirit of that in whatever location we end up at. Turns out BMC is closed for Christmas. (We've tried being annoying and asked lots of people – to no avail.) After the BMC was gone . . . we started looking into other locations. Orillia Opera House – Nope … Gryphon Theatre – Nada … East Bayfield Centre – Zip … Barrie Sports Dome … Zero Any Highschool in Barrie/Orilla … Zilch So as you can see . . . we started running out of good (obvious) options. We could ask a to borrow space on an "off time" from a couple churches – haven't explored that option yet.
This where you come in – the reason for this blog post tonight. We are thinking about a couple different options at this point for Christmas eve . . . and we're wondering if people would be up for weighing in with your thoughts. WARNING: My bias is going to show through in this. I'm not pretending to be impartial.
Idea 1 – We could rent two elementary schools in Barrie and Orillia and host two services. We'd need to go through the hoops with the people at the school board to open up the facilities for us but we feel pretty confident that we could find space in some schools. We like this option because it's community oriented – it's in the heart of the cities we are attempting to serve. It would also be nice to have something close to all of our people this year – rather than a central (outdoors or otherwise) event like last year.
Ideal 2 – We host a single Christmas eve event at the Convention Centre at Casino Rama. (Wait! Hear me out before you send your cards and letters.) When I think of the Christmas story I am struck by a number of things. Jesus arrived in a completely unexpected place – a barn – a Casino is close to the last place I could image people thinking a Christmas Eve service would be. I am also struck that God "risked" coming to earth as a child rather than coming as a full grown man – we could probably use the location to talk about why God took that "risk". It's also an incredible conference centre attached to the hotel (so kids can attend) with virtually free busing from all over central Ontario. (Plus I "bet" that there are more people in Casino Rama on Christmas eve than in all the churches in Barrie & Orillia combined – a sad state of the communities we live in.)
So now . . . it's your turn.
Some possible questions to answer:
1) Do you know of some great mystery facility we should be thinking about that we should be exploring?
2) What do you think of these two options?
3) What could we do to craft the sort of Christmas eve experience that would have a shot at reaching those 90% of people in our cities that didn't attend anywhere last year?
4) Do you think I'm totally nuts for thinking about Casino Rama . . . and may need to get my head checked?
Please fill in your comments below.
Connexus Community Church
p.s. We're going to post stuff about the Summer Book Club tomorrow. Stay tuned, friends.
p.p.s. We're pulling together an event for the end of August that I am totally pumped about. It's not the "Fill the Truck" event that we're going to talk about this weekend . . . this other event is going to be at the end of August and a lot of fun. Keep your ears to the ground!