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Christmas in Croydon

11 December, 2014 Will Dobbie

Christmas in Croydon
Christmas. That time for churches when pastors’ eyes light up at all of the Gospel opportunities, and when great evangelistic pushes are launched. But this year at Redeemer Croydon we’re playing it cool. Just the one ‘event’. And even that one will be only half-evangelistic. Let me explain.

Having only recently got going, we’re still finding our feet. And we want to walk before we try to run. So we’re staggering the launches of our ministries one by one. And this first term has just been about Sunday mornings (plus a small informal weekly Friday evening meeting).

Because we’re only doing Sunday mornings, we’ve gone for quite a high tariff in terms of their scale and aimed-for quality. (I am generally a fan of doing less, better.) I’m very glad we did, and I think that’s partly responsible for some of our recent  numerical growth. But that high tariff and its accompanying growth have led to the nice problem of an infrastructure that’s just creaking slightly. And some of us are creaking too: Redeemer’s first term has been thrilling, fulfilling, and massively enjoyable – but also draining.

So we’re going for just the one Christmas event: a quiz night. On the one hand, it’ll be a kind of end-of-term Christmas party for our members. We may include a light-hearted awards ceremony. And we’ll use the evening to relax, reminisce and celebrate the great start the Lord has so kindly given our church.

At the same time, the evening will be an opportunity for non-member guests to experience the Redeemer community. It’ll be an experience of us in party mode, with our hair let down, so to speak. I’m hoping that’ll be attractive to guests. I also hope it’ll feel refreshingly informal and non-artificial (unlike some evangelistic carol services). An awards ceremony would be geared to avoid ‘in’ jokes. And there’ll be an evangelistic Gospel presentation halfway though the evening.

Will this ‘work’ as an event? Possibly not. But I’m growing increasingly relaxed about trying things. Especially if it’s possible to follow Jim Collins’ excellent ‘fire bullets-then-cannonballs’ principle. Generally, I reckon, if the failure of something isn’t catastrophic, then the knowledge gained from it was worth it. Plus, I’m of the view that pastors have to choose between being their churches' undertakers (not good), caretakers (still not good), or risk-takers.

Happy Christmas!

Will Dobbie Will is lead pastor of Redeemer Croydon. Privously he served in the British Army, before going into full-time Christian work in 2006.

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