Sent December 8, 2020
As you may have anticipated, Christmas at West Side will occur online-only this year.
No one loves bringing people together to celebrate Christmas more than the team of staff and volunteers who make it happen at West Side. But as we recently reached a decision point when we needed to make a call, the scale tipped toward investing our energy in the best online experience we can offer.
I won’t unpack all the factors here, but believe me, we considered everything. We asked what we could do, of course. But we prioritized what we should do. Since we know 70-75% of us will opt for the online experience, regardless, we wrestled with what to do for the rest of us.
A friend sent me a funny meme from social media that depicted a church leader, torn between the strongly-held (but differing) perspectives of believers in his church. I laughed, but that dynamic is a real thing for many church leaders, so I thank you for being a church that prays for its leaders to be given wisdom, then follows peacefully, even when there is a good case to be made for a different decision. That’s exactly what the Bible asks of believers. The real-world test of our spiritual maturity is the quality of our reactions when we don’t get what we prefer. Thanks for the gift of that kind of response, Westsiders. You routinely live-up to the last five letters in the word community.
If you’re like me, however, Christmas at West Side is your favorite week of the year at our church. So, it’s a bummer to have to participate by TV or another device. If that’s how you see it, I want to acknowledge and identify with your sadness. But I’m calling you to be disappointed with us, not in us.
DIFFERENT BUT GOOD
The great news is that, while Christmas at West Side will be different this year, it will be excellent and meaningful, too. You shouldn’t miss it– and there’s no reason for you to miss it with EIGHT online worship opportunities. Please be intentional about selecting a time and creating a great environment in your home when you worship with us online. Maybe arrange your own FaceTime or Zoom call with family or friends before worship – it can be your own digital “concourse” where you “see” people before the service begins. Or, do it after the service. Get creative and determine to connect with others.
As usual, our team has created some great tools to help you make the most of Christmas at West Side – and bring others along!
It’s not too soon to determine your worship schedule. The options are…
- SUNDAY, Dec 20, at 9:00, 11:00, 3:00 and 5:00
- THURSDAY, Dec 24 at 11:00, 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00
Notice that none of the Sunday start times are our “usual” service times. Ironically, the start times are all odd-numbered hours because… well… 2020 might be an even number, itself, but everything else about 2020 is… odd.
Head to www.wschurch.org/kit to sign up for an At-Home Celebration Kit. The kit will include Communion elements, cookies & cocoa, an at-home photo booth, candles and other tools! It’s a fun and engaging set of resources that will make online worship more of an experience.
You can also pick up yard signs and invite bags at the Main Entrance almost anytime between now and Christmas at West Side. Let God use you to show people “a sign” that he sees them and is drawing them to himself, even in 2020.
Let’s patiently accept the limitations of 2020 – but let’s not miss the opportunity to make Christmas at West Side 2020 a highlight at home!