Christmas past

Coming up with the perfect Christmas program seems really simple when you see what churches all over the world are doing. It all looks so easy and magical. The reality is much different. First off, there is probably nothing even close to a perfect program. Second, developing an effective Christmas service (or any event for that matter) requires tons of work, lots of collaboration, and probably even more compromise. Easy isn’t one of the options.

For the Willow team this year, we had our share of ups and downs to get to where our program ended up. Is it perfect? No. But it is a product of our best effort, given our abilities, given our limitations, given our resources. And with all of that, it is a really good Christmas program.

Without question, there are things I would do differently. There are things I wish others had done differently. If we were going to take this show on the road, then we’d be able to make some more tweaks and turn it into a “better” version of itself…but we aren’t.

However, as Seth Godin talks about quite a bit, there is a time for planning and tweaking, but there is also a time to ship; a time to stop adjusting and get your product out there.

All along the way, we tried to make the best decisions we could, based on the information of the moment. Looking back is easy. Knowing what I would do differently is the easy part. Living in the moment and making decisions along the way is not easy to do. You can only do your best.

Wishing the last event were better does’t really solve the problem. Looking towards the next big event, the goal will be to build on the successes of this event and to learn from our “mistakes”.

I’m really proud of the work our team has done to make this Christmas amazing. Hard working, highly creative people, creating in community for the benefit of our congregation and their friends. In spite of whatever could have gone better, this is a Christmas to remember.

Here are some pictures of production elements. Some that made it into the program and some  that didn’t …and that’s OK.

Here are a couple of short videos of a stage transition that never happened. It was cool, but in the end, didn’t help tell the story.

Wagon spin

Wagon spin wide

  • krisjustkris

    You and your team should feel extremely proud. My mother in law brought a couple from the Garlands (Retirement community in Barrington) and their conversation on the way home included the wife deciding that she was going to “take her first steps toward God” while the husband was asking if he “could come again without a ticket and will it cost anything?” My adopted African American sister was awe struck at the diversity on stage and in the video. She couldn’t stop talking about how things have changed/improved. Her daughter LOVED Promiseland, btw. I got to meet the 3 people next to me in my row. A long time attender, who brought her two brothers from Milwaukee for the first time. Pretty cool “God Thing” that I was born and raised in Milwaukee and could connect with her brothers. I wish you could have seen these 60+ year old men dance during worship!! God was definitely at work. I pray blessings for you and your team and am grateful!

    • Thanks for sharing this story, Kristin. It is so easy to have tunnel vision on the production side of things without really knowing if God is working.