An open Sunday night on the calendar during Advent? Perfect time for partnership and mission @fbcknox #missional @downtownknox
Finding an open Sunday night for a program-based church during the Christmas season is like finding an empty parking spot at the mall. It rarely happens. But for churches on mission, Sunday nights no longer need to be filled with another event for the sake of the calendar. Many groups celebrate the season and carry out the church's mission even better than we can on campus. With no reason to reinvent the proverbial worship wheel, churches can partner with these groups and extend the mission of the kingdom of God.
Consider what happened yesterday at First Baptist. The Fellowship Council and Worship Council provided lunch and worship. Neither happened on our campus, but both were "First Baptist events." During the lunch hour, several families participated in "Advent out to Lunch." Nine downtown restaurants offered "discounts" for eating out. I like what Courtney Evans said. She called it the "GOJESUS discount." But these families went a step further. They re-gifted the savings to the restaurant servers. They shared their percentage off their meal as an additional gratuity for the work the food service workers provide year-round.
Following the meal, many others attended the Knoxville Nativity Pageant. For 42 years, the First Baptist family and extended family have provided a living re-enactment of the prophecies and announcements of the birth of Christ as well as the arrival of the shepherds and magi. At 3:00 p.m. we worshiped together along with hundreds of others and joined (officially) what this fine organization as been doing in our community.
Our strategic plan for 2010-2014 calls us not only to work together but think creatively about these kinds of partnerships we can form with groups already on mission. Sunday was just one example of the way this is happening. There is no better season than to share the season with people who know the kingdom of God is "at hand." Now we can join hands.
(Pictured above Jonathan Higdon, Reese Higdon, and Drake Shiell check out the sheep stars of the Nativity Pageant.)
For more information on other churches who are engaged in partnerships, check out these great examples:
Calvary Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
First Baptist Church, Wilmington, North Carolina, Harrelson Center
Hopeful Imagination Resources