The Story: Come To Bethlehem and See! [A Recap]

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


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