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While the holidays can be a very busy season, they are also especially ripe with missional and communal opportunities.
What if this year, you intentionally crafted a plan within your community to grow in your collective love for one another, love for neighbors, and love for God through Christmas?
What would happen if you shifted some of the things you always do to make space for teaching your kids the hopeful story of Advent and serving your neighbors with the incarnation love of Jesus.
Here is an inspiring story of a missional community that took up this challenge as reported on the Saturate’s blog.
Inside a Missional Community’s Plan
By Brad Watson
I believe even the process itself of thinking together of how to grow in our love for God, one another, and our neighbors is formative as people seeking to be led of the Spirit as followers of Jesus in the stuff of everyday life.
Hesitating to interrupt the joy of an overly crowded table of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and loud laughter, I asked how we might spread more than our obvious love of carbs this holiday season. Comprised of college students, families, and single dudes (some employed, some not), uniting for everyday and common mission isn’t always easy, but the holidays give us a unique opportunity to band together as a family of disciples. We riffed off the basic questions and suggestions of the Saturate “How to Make a Plan for the Holidays” to help us plot our spread of the joy of Jesus together. I asked the questions below, waited for responses, gave some recommendations, and we sorted it out together! We finished with a prayer committing our plan to the Spirit.
How will we love one another this holiday season?
We like to party, so someone quickly suggested that we have a missional community Christmas party. We had been talking about the weird games we played in youth group experiences, so soon our plans morphed into a “weird youth group games with pizza and brownies, strange Christmas attire, and $5 white elephant” night of fun! We compared schedules, set the time and place, and delegated who would own “games” and “food.”
We also suggested that our DNA groups take a week of their time to share anxieties and hopes for this holiday season, and how such things are flowing from their heart and stories during the “Nurture” portion of their time together.
How will we love others this holiday season?
We decided that the Christmas party was a great opportunity to show love for those in our everyday and common missions as well. So, we encouraged one another to invite people whom we are seeking to take a next step of relationship with from those areas of our lives.
Two areas of common mission engagement surfaced that we planned to pursue. 1)Helping the Boys and Girls club in our common mission neighborhood with their Christmas party. 2) Partnering with the neighborhood association in “caroling with kindness.” We noted dates and times with the info we had and delegated who would update us and remind us of important details.
How will we grow in our love for God this holiday season?
We shared the benefit and possible resources for both personal and family Advent plans. One family that does a “Jesus Christmas Tree” offered to help others who were interested in that tradition of leading their children in a daily December walk through the person and work of Jesus.
Also, one of our college students volunteered to do a daily post on our missional community groupme (our social media connection) about how we can look upward, inward, and outward in unique ways in December.
We finished by agreeing that this time of year can get really busy and stressful fast, and finish with us more in a state of confused shock than satisfied peace. So, we encouraged one another to create at least one block of space (2 – 4 hours) for solitude, silence, and stillness before the Lord.
We then prayed for God to bring glory to himself and good to our city through these things.
As you all know, such planning wasn’t as simple as a blog post might sound. People were walking in and out. Kids were needing help. Some ideas were scrapped, and some won’t happen as we planned. Still, I believe even the process itself of thinking together about how to grow in our love for God, one another, and our neighbors is formative as people seeking to be led of the Spirit as followers of Jesus in the stuff of everyday life.
Thank you, Saturate, for helping equip Matthew’s Table Church to equip our people to increasingly submit all of our lives to Jesus as King!