We set off with a goal this year: to simplify, align, and unify our Christmas efforts, even as we touch and serve more people with the love of Jesus, the coming newborn King!
Last year we had discussed doing Advent Conspiracy and I liked the idea. But as we began a new outreach emphasis at St. Mark, I wanted to look at how we could do this and support one of the main areas SML will support all year, not just for Advent and Christmas.
As LINC Houston is one of those ministries, we looked at what they were doing for Advent and Christmas. Their “Toys for Joy” program seemed to fit perfectly! Some of the LINC congregations have events where they invite kids and families from the community to attend. They share – explicitly and intentionally – the Gospel of Jesus and His birth. They also share presents with the kids, reminding them of the greatest Gift of all: Jesus!
This seemed perfect for us!
SML had done many things for Advent and Christmas – many all at the same time.
One of the items we did was a “Giving Tree,” where gifts needs or desires are put on a tree in the firm of a card. People take the card, lift the recipient up in prayer, fulfill the gift, and then bring it back so it can be delivered to the recipient(s).
This was going to work well together!
Working with LINC and one of their congregations, Casa de Oracion [“CdO”], to help them tell the story of Jesus with the community in Pasadena.
CdO gave us a list of 175 kids they were going to invite. We would fulfill that list plus about 30% more to cover others the Lord would bring.
But we knew the Lord would use SML in a greater capacity!
We made this event a focus of the school: of classes and chapel offerings. We had a contest to see which class could fulfill the most gifts. (40 gifts by the 8th graders, by the way!) Then we also challenged the congregation; not with a total for just CdO, but with 498 total for all of SML! [Since it is the 498th anniversary of the Reformation.]
The Lord used SML to fulfill over 500 gifts!
That gave us enough to supply Casa de Oracion, plus supplement several other LINC congregations taking part in the “Toys for Joy” program!
God is good!
THANK YOU, St. Mark, Casa de Oracion, and LINC Houston, for sharing the Gospel of Jesus this Advent! I praise the Lord for all of you!
I look forward to see how the Lord will use St. Mark, LINC, and Casa de Oracion in the future; and how you will be a part of it!
During our time in Advent, we followed the four tenants of Advent Conspiracy in our sermons, Bible class, and emphases. Those are:
- Worship Fully
- Spend Less
- Give More
- Love All
These were a huge blessing, and helped to further simplify what we are doing – and why!