It certainly wasn't the first time the Nativity story was shared. Thousands of times, hundreds of thousands of times in fact, Jesus followers have shared the story of our Messiah's humble entrance into this world. The Christ-child: born in a manger. It wasn't the first time it was shared at our church even. Randall had shared "The Pilgrimage to Bethlehem" in dramatic fashion for nearly 20 consecutive years! But for many involved in this year's presentation; this was our first.

Two days removed, we are still running on adrenaline for how well the evening went. When people entered the Bethlehem Marketplace, there were audible gasps as God's Word came to life in a tangible way. Tears of joy filled guests eyes when the manger was revealed; "He is here! The Messiah!" Story travelers commented on the strong sense of community they felt while Christmas caroling on the hayride. The Gospel was communicated without apology, and fun was had by all! It was a great night.

It was a great night, but it wasn't a perfect night by any stretch of the imagination. Behind the scenes, in our post-game evaluations, we noted some key areas for improvement. Our parking, registration, and pre-registration processes went so smoothly, that it created unnecessary pre-experience wait times. These had been built in to account for delays, which we simply didn't need. We already know how to adjust for that next year. 

Our communication and branding will need some attention. In the 6 hr run, we shared "The Story" with approximately 600 people over 12 groups, and only fell 4 minutes behind our schedule. However, because of it's different format to the previous "Pilgrimage" presentation, many people perceived our timing differently. Similarly, many people were unprepared for extended time on their feet, and we will be making the changes necessary to communicate this better in the future.

Of the 487 people pre-registered, only 34 of them labeled themselves as "unchurched." However, this didn't change our approach. I personally shared the Gospel with every single Story Traveler who came through. The Good News still goes out with great impact! In all 12 groups, we had numerous people pray to accept Christ. Many were children, but our campfire counselors were able to talk to their parents and answer any questions people had there at the fire, as great discussions happened in a warm and inviting environment.

Make no mistake. 165 volunteers were activated to bring all of this together. This was a ton of work! So why did we do this? Why will we consider it again? We want to share the greatest gift in human history to the people we have access to. For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. 

"The Story" doesn't end here. This is just the beginning. So, Go Tell It!
You Belong. You Matter. You Can Make A Difference. 

Pastor Milo
@milowilson
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A couple weeks ago, we shot the opening video for The Story presentation. I wanted to share a snippet of the script with you today as a matter of invitations to join us!

 ...You might be asking, “why would we spend so much time?” why are we doing all of this? Why would we be praying for you? Why? Because you matter. We believe that the Christmas story wasn’t something given only to generations long ago to learn from. We believe the gift of Christmas needs to be shared with people like you, from churches like ours. You matter that much to God! He made you. He knows you. He has given this wonderful Christmas present for you, because he loves you! You matter. 

As a father of five, I’m reminded daily that the next generation is growing up! More than anything, our youth need to know that they have a place where they belong. The truth of the matter is, every man, woman, and child is wired in exactly the same way. We all need to be reminded that you matter, and that you belong. That is why you will see that we have involvement from multiple generations from the registration, to the music, to our live actors, all finding their place to belong. We believe God intended the church to be the hands / feet of Christ. Our arms are to be wide open! Why? You matter. You belong. 

It is so encouraging for us to see all of you here. We know you could’ve spent your time somewhere else, doing 1000 other things, but you are here. We don’t take that lightly. So the final thing we want you hear from us is this. You can make a difference. Let me explain. We believe we have the greatest story of all time to share! I’ll take it even further to say this; we believe we have the greatest story of all time to share, and we believe that if we share it with you, you can make a difference. You matter. You belong. You can make a difference. 

You may be a person of influence, or you may be a person who doesn’t seem have a platform, or even worse, you may be a person who has lost all credibility because of some of the choices you have made. But when I read the Bible, I read story after story of regular, everyday people that God used to make a difference. Regular, everyday people... How might God use you this Christmas? Why don’t you start by inviting someone to hear the Gospel this unique way? Space is limited, register at www.thestory.randallchurch.org.

Pastor Milo