When it comes to Christmas at the Durham Performing Arts Center, I meet two types of people: those who have never been (and wonder what it’s all about) and those who have been (and are inviting every single person they know). We don’t rent out DPAC because it’s easy. It’s actually pretty tough work. But we believe it’s worth it. Our Connections Pastor, Danny Franks, recently wrote a helpful reflection explaining why. Christmas at DPAC, you see, isn’t primarily for church members:
We’re neck-deep in last-minute planning for one of the largest events we do all year. Christmas at DPAC takes months of planning, miles of cable, tons of lights, our entire staff team, and some 1,300 volunteers to prepare for the 10,000 plus guests that will show up at five services over two days.
When we pull away from the Durham Performing Arts Center on Christmas Eve at about 8 PM, it will be with the fullest hearts and most exhausted brains you can imagine. Full heart, because I’m confident we’ll see God do some incredible things during our time together. Exhausted brain (and feet, and legs, and every joint that we collectively own) because for three straight days, there’s no sitting down.
But if 2014 imitates the preceding two years, sometime in the days following DPAC one or more of our pastors will get a gracious inquiry from a well-meaning, inquisitive church member, telling us that something about DPAC didn’t feel right:
1. It didn’t really feel churchy.
2. I feel like I couldn’t sing along with all of it.
3. That sure did feel like more of a performance.
And the response to every statement? Yes. Yes. And yes.
You see, we don’t design Christmas at DPAC for church members. It’s not that we don’t believe we’ll have many there. We will. It’s not that we don’t love our church members. We do. But our Christmas Eve services are not primarily designed with Christians in mind. (Whew. There. I said it. It felt good.)
Read the rest here.