Shared events are some of my favorite sticky memories for my families and the community. A shared event is when two or more local churches come together to plan, promote, pray through, and roll out an event in Christmas community as a stronger Body of Christ working, serving, and sharing life together. Our 3rd-5th graders and their families partnered with two other local churches in our district to provide food box blessings and reindeer games with a local community which receives free summer lunches for kids, added some Christmas lights, Christmas caroling and pizza dinner at the local Costco, and hot chocolate with book reading at Starbucks.
Two of the churches traveled to a mobile home community which is a large route during the MUST Summer Lunch program. Each child in the community received fun reindeer themed toys and a generous Food Box blessing bag which included Christmas treats. We played the right/left games which tells the Christmas story with all sorts of candy and candy canes. Each family received an invitation to attend Christmas services at the closest church to their location as well as the regular provider of weekly backpack blessings to the families. The local church already had a relationship with the mobile-home community and we were invited to share by bringing reindeer toys, games, a book to read about the Christmas story, and fresh fruit to add to the boxes that were filled by the closest local church’s ongoing relationship with the Greater Atlanta Food Bank. Lots of singing, too, from a karaoke machine on wheels programmed through a leader’s phone. The tent, signage, and more was provided through a grant.
On to the local Costco we ate pizza, drank lots of water (we brought our own water bottles), and sang Christmas carols when joined by the third local church. A karaoke machine on wheels made for a great singing and listening experience. Printed lyrics were fabulous! Think about it: Costco on the Friday evening before Christmas!
Driving through the local Holiday of Lights at the Veteran’s Park let us support children with special medical needs. Then we headed to a large Starbucks for hot chocolate and a public reading of another children’s book about Christmas. We finished the evening with caroling of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” for the staff and the full coffee shop.
Faith Field Trips shared with other churches are some of my favorite ways to make sticky, faith-formation memories for our families. Our students meet my friends (fellow kidmin leaders) and their students, practice hospitality with other Christians who they might meet at summer camp or later in middle school, and see what joy shared looks like, sounds like, feels like, and even smells like. Blessed to be a blessing!
The Faith Field Trip for this year is a 3pm-10pm time of Christmas caroling to our shut-ins, making and delivering Christmas potpouri gifts for some Christmas smells, dinner at a Saints’ home with games midway through the evening, ending with a hot chocolate bar at the home of one of our Sunday school leader’s. All on the Monday before Christmas in reindeer headbands!
“Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.” Psalm 34:3