Okay, we’ve done a lot of incredible Christmas programs at Gateway over the years – and some of them have been HUGE. Huge in the scale of 8-12 performances with close to 10,000 people in attendance. We’d go into the holidays exhausted – but proud of what we we able to pull off.
Yesterday though, we hosted a very different Christmas experience that was a lot smaller and simpler – but what I feel was the best we’ve done. I know I’m biased, but here are my reasons:
- This Christmas experience was far easier to pull off than previous years. We purchased the Jingle Jam performance from Orange and tweaked it in a few simple ways to fit our church. Using Jingle Jam made the programing so much simpler. They provided all the best graphic and logistical support that takes the guess work out of designing something on your own. Sure, hundreds of man hours were needed to gather props, build sets and rehearse, rehears and rehears – but that’s required with any production.
- Our Christmas experience were undoubtedly and unapologetically designed for families. We’ve done some pretty cool productions in the past, but many of them haven’t been as kid friendly as this one. The kids LOVED it! All through the service you could hear the gasps and giggle from hundreds of kids being delighted by the sights and sounds.
- Our Christmas experience was community driven. We built on the Jingle Jam service and provided a Family event between our 12:30 and 4:00 services. We had hayrides, s’mores around a fire pit, hot chocolate, food trucks, bounce houses and a snow tube slide. Hundreds of families gathered around and played together for several hours. It was so much fun just to walk around and hang out with the church. I ran into more than one family that I hadn’t seen in years who told me that they were coming back.
- Our Christmas experience isn’t far from what we do each and every Sunday. This is the coolest part of all. I heard a kid tell him mom, “Mom, this is what we do upstairs every week.” I chuckled as I thought, “well, not exactly.” We don’t produce an hour long production like this – but most of the elements the families experienced at Jingle Jam was very similar to what they’ll see any Sunday they attend. There’s a host, sometimes funny – sometimes serious. There’s a monthly life-app (the one for Jingle Jam was the same the kids have been hearing all month). There’s a storyteller and there’s a worship team with better than just hand motions dance team. Jingle Jam was one of the best advertisements we could show to get kids to come back in January.
If you’ve not considered Jingle Jam for a Christmas experience, you really should look into it for next year!
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