The Apostle Paul knew what it was like to have Jesus show up in your life, right in the middle of your mess, and change everything. He took this mindset of meeting people where they are into his work of sharing the good news of Jesus. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:22, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
This past Christmas, Church of the Cross, decided to meet people where they are, by hosting a Christmas Celebration at Reclaimed Rails, a brewery in Bondurant, Iowa. The event was called “Christmas Reclaimed.”
A small group from the church already had been meeting weekly at the brewery, so the relationship had already been established. “The owners of the brewery were excited to work with us and saw an opportunity to benefit both organizations,” said Laurel Swanson, who leads the small group.
The out-of-the-box celebration of Christmas was December 23. The Christmas story was taught through five rounds of trivia. Church of the Cross coffee mugs and stocking hats, as well as koozies and growlers from the brewery, were given as prizes. Christmas carols were sung in between each round of trivia, led by Church of the Cross musicians. The evening closed by singing “Silent Night” with cellphones lit and lifted high.
About 100 people gathered that night, with a vast majority not coming from Church of the Cross. The event was publicized through Facebook and word of mouth.
“I think it was a great way for people in our community to get a fresh experience of the church,” said Swanson. “We had tons of great feedback. People really had a fun time.”
“Jesus was always taking good news to unlikely places and meeting people where they were,” said Nathan Anenson, Sr. Pastor of Church of the Cross. “So if we are following Jesus, we must follow Him to where He might hang out in our community and meet people where they are.”