Friday, 10 December 2010

Outward Focused Christmas

Each Christmas at the Vineyard Church Dungannon we try to create a different way of doing Christmas through our Outward Focused Christmas. The idea came about after I read my good friend and mentor's book called The Outward Focused Life which is all about creating a servant culture in a serve me world, if you don't have a copy pick one up as soon as.

I thought what better way or time to turn the tide on consumerism in the Church than at Christmas time so instead of doing the traditional Christmas talk we set aside December and talked about Grace, Attitude, Availability and Generosity I guess there's alot of Christmas in those titles. We set the month aside and still do each year to serve our community, we did free Christmas wrapping, giveaway chocolates, went out to the town centre at the weekend to meet clubbers and pub goers with a coffee and chat into the small hours of the morning. Then Christmas eve we gathered as a community of faith to give out hampers.

When we started giving out hampers at Christmas here in the Vineyard, it wasn’t huge in fact Christmas 2007 we gave away four luxury hampers to families we knew were in need. I can still remember Michelle, the boys and myself dropping one at a home just about 3 miles from where we live, a lovely picturesque village, neat gardens, respectable homes. We found our house; it looked cold even from the outside, curtains half open, it looked forlorn. We got out the hamper and my three boys where loaded with questions, why are we doing this? Who are these people? Why don’t they have food and toys this Christmas?

We knocked on the door, a boy about 8 or 9 years old came to the door, he looked wary, cracking the door open about 6 ins. We asked could we talk to your mum, dad, he looked blankly, so we told him we were from the Vineyard Church and we wanted to give him and his family the hamper to remind them that God loved them. He opened the door just enough for the hamper to squeeze through, he had wee dirty bare feet, and dragged the hamper through the gap in the door. He didn’t speak, he didn’t say thank you – he didn’t need to. We knew that his Christmas had just got a whole lot brighter. As we have been talking about moving from ‘here to there’ we have gone from 4 to giving away 267 hampers and £1500 of oil heating in 2009. Christmas is getting brighter as this year we plan to give away 1000 luxury food hampers and oil heating for those in need this Christmas.

Why not start your own
Outward Focused Christmas 2010 and as my friend Dave Workman would say "Let’s make a difference in someone’s life today…let’s go serve somebody."

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