by Stephen Ng
Amidst the Covid-19 fears and anxiety, and all the restrictions of the pandemic, one church will never allow anyone to steal the joy of Christmas this year.
The idea originated from Downunder, where during an annual church conference, party packs were distributed to cell groups. Members of the church were encouraged to watch the conference online as cell groups in their homes of the hosts.
Pastor Lindy Ong, who is the pastor-in-charge of Special Events (big day services & rallies) at SIBKL, says when she started planning to look for ideas for Christmas this year, this idea first suggested by her sister living in Perth, was mooted to the pastoral team.
“I then contextualized our Christmas event this year to suit our church families,” she adds, saying that at least 200 families will be celebrating Christmas watch parties with their friends in the comfort of their own homes. Some will be hosting in the restaurants as well.
At the time of writing (Dec 20), a total of 194 boxes have been collected, and another 16 boxes will be collected next week. “In fact, we are still open, if more people want the boxes,” she says. “We want as many homes to be opened as possible.”
The formula is very simple: One box for every home wanting to host the Christmas watch party. In each box, there are balloons, Christmas props, and even stickers to paste on bottles and glasses.
“We have been told that a few people plan to run two or three Christmas watch parties in their homes,” she says. “So, some homes will be using one pack for multiple parties.”
The pandemic has taught Ong to think out of the box, instead of organising the usual big events or producing the usual Christmas skits. “This year is a year of stretching, where God has enabled us to do church like never before,” she says, enthusiastically. “This is definitely a new way of doing Christmas.”
What is important is that Christmas can never be Christmas until Christ finds His place in the gathering. “The joy of Christmas is to be shared out to people,” she says. “To make this happen, we have put together a simple Christmas day service programme ala home-based meetings. We encourage people to sing the carols and join the carols on stage, broadcast “live” on Christmas day.”
This will be followed by a sermon by Pastor Isaac Ling to bring the message of hope in a year that appears to be overwhelmed with nothing but statistics of Covid-19 cases and more deaths.
“We will also have 12 church members to share their one-sentence testimonies at the end of the sermon based on what God has done in their lives in 2020,” Ong says.
In the past, SIBKL has been organising physical Christmas Day services, where the number could reach about 4800 people in different services. “But with this new exciting way of running church this Christmas, we believe our reach will go far beyond previous years,” she enthuses.
Find out more at https://sibkl.org.my/christmas/
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