By now many of you would know that after our Carols ‘rain out’ last year for Waratah Church’s Christmas Carols event, we somehow manged to plan our 2017 Carols on the same weekend as the most epic cold front in yonks turned up carrying with it a severe weather warning.
So much of my reflections from last year and the drive to ‘come back bigger and better than ever’ this year now just seemed really stupid and presumptuous. I asked myself the question: “Why does it always have to be bigger and better?”
Why does it?
The ‘baptised in theological language’ answer is “because we want to reach as many people for Jesus as possible,” but I’m not sure how much of that is really just a cover-up for a form of ‘look how much we are doing’ kind of pride.
Now in case you didn’t know, we actually cancelled the event venue of Batavia Ave park at 7.50am that morning so that, unlike last year when we had to do a re-run a week later, we could essentially shift it to Waratah Church, knowing that we’d be looking at around 1500 less people. So Carols still happened on the 17th, just to a maximum of around 300 folks instead.
As I slouched in my chair on Tuesday, Gavin walked into my office and asked me the very question I had been pondering on the drive over the bridge: “How do you really feel about Sunday night?”
The words out of my mouth initially felt forced: “Satisfied.”
I say initially because the more I thought about it, the more I came to genuinely feel it, until now as I type, I can say that I. am. content. with how things went.
Because I have to be.
It’s not until you see so much hard work by so many people, apparently wasted for two years in a row that you really realise how important and encouraging it is that with God, fruit is inevitable.
I find that you come to (or remember) insights like this as ‘rewards’ for the wrestling that takes place in your own soul. without a wrestle we tend to forget what is really important.
Peace is always preceded by a battle of some sort.
Here’s the funny thing, the internal evangelistic vision/focus for the event planning committee was summarised as “Bringing them to Church, bringing them to Jesus.”
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that more people have actually stepped ‘across the threshold’ and into the front door of Waratah Church in and thru the last two Carols presentations than the previous 7 that I have been involved in, put together. I’m not being negative and I’m not saying that the bigger ‘under the stars’ events haven’t communicated Christ to people, but I’m a big believer that people come to and continue with Jesus in communities of faith.
As Brian Harris would say, it’s belong, believe, behave. Not the other way around.
I’m going to nail my colours to the mast right now. I’m satisfied with how it panned out, because I want as many people to come along to church, not because I want to simply fill seats but because I believe that is where God predominantly meets with people in life-changing ways. That is where people come to worship and hear from God and God meets with us.
He met with me.
He can meet with you….at church.