Yesterday’s blog was about how we look at and treat Christmas individually, forgetting how our society and our government treat it. Today is the same idea. Mike Slaughter is the pastor of Ginghamsburg Church which is on the outskirts of Dayton, OH. In 2006 Ginghamsburg began using their church’s Christmas Eve offering to start rebuilding a city in the Sudan, which had been devastated with civil war. Their Christmas Eve offering was probably a half-million dollars in 2006 (it’s a big church).
As the story goes, Pastor Mike was looking at a magazine and saw an advertisement for an expensive car on one side of the opened magazine encouraging people to buy it for someone they love for Christmas, and a story about all the people dying in the Sudan on the opposite page. And God impressed upon his heart “Sedan vs. Sudan.” God also gave him the idea that “Christmas is not your birthday”. The church has rebuilt a village in the Sudan. They now split their Christmas Eve offering between the Dayton Area and the Sudan. He asks the people of his church to give to the Dayton/Sudan project whatever they spend on Christmas. So in other words, whatever you spend on Christmas presents for your family and friends – give the same amount to the needy of Dayton and the Sudan. You can watch an inspiring 3 minute video about Ginghamsburg’s work in the Sudan here.
When I was serving the Mason UMC, we decided to use our 2008 Christmas Eve offering to do a makeover of the Mason city park. You can watch the 3 minute video here. Over 100 people went to work in the Spring of 2009 to make the park look new, including building a new primary swing set.
One of the many things Wesley Chapel is doing to celebrate Christmas is giving gifts to between 50 and 70 kids of families who come to our food pantry. At $20 per child, that’s somewhere between $1,000 and $1,400 from the people here – all for Jesus’ glory.
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. ~ 1 Peter 4:10