The small Alabama town my family calls home hovers around a population of 1000. Each year this town hosts a walk-through Nativity scene with the assistance of dozens of churches. This production is hosted on private property with amateur actors, real animals, campfires, and amazing singing angels.
Acting, donating, or visiting, our family has participated in some capacity for the last four years. Each year, the details of the production blow me away.
The visitor starts with a guide from one of the 12 tribes of Israel and is provided a gold coin for bribing Roman soldiers who barrage the group on horseback several times throughout the stroll. As the group walks around a very large pond, visitors stop at stations to hear the Nativity Story. One of the highlights is visiting the village, where fresh bread and fruits are offered, businesses are selling wares, priests are speaking…and an innkeeper is proclaiming no more room for the travelers. Towards the end of the walk, there is an amazing stable scene with a real-life Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus amongst the sheep, goats, and donkeys.
Let me tell you why this is such an amazing community ministry. https://www.aneclecticministry.org
First; it started as a smaller church’s vision to reach the community, but has now grown to dozens of churches assisting. There is no politics or denomination talk, but rather a presentation of the Nativity story as read in the Bible.
Second; it runs for a week each December and has been running consecutively since 2013. It has a longer past, but the formalization at its current location allows the community for miles around to have access to parking and the walk-through venue.
Third; it’s run entirely by volunteers. The clean-up crews, the marketing through the year, the costume design, the parking crew…even the sound, which we can hear through the woods over a mile away at our house (what a blessing to hear the music in our yard for a week solid every 20-30 minutes from 6-9pm!)
Fourth; the tour ends in a large white circus tent with the hosting church of the evening presenting the Gospel. People who have church homes, meet new people. People without church homes are introduced to all of the churches participating over the week. Unchurched folks hear the Gospel. Folks are accepting Christ at this event. There are souls being saved, y’all!!!
Souls being saved. All because someone thought there should be a walking, live-action, Nativity Scene for the community. Years later, dozens of churches later, hundreds of visitors later…and souls are still being saved!
What could happen in your community if you dreamed big dreams and let God work through your hands? What could happen this Christmas if you listened to the nudge of the Holy Spirit? Would souls be saved?