14th March 2024

Prepare the Way

Christmas fills our hearts with joy as we think of gifts, lights and the holiday spirit. But Christmas means so much more, being about the birth of a saviour, Jesus Christ – and of course, His birth is only part of the story, it’s also an incredible opportunity we have as the church to present Jesus, the hope of the world to our communities.

Last Christmas, New Life Baptist Church Echuca Moama recognised that people in their local community hungered to sing traditional carols more than songs about snowfalls and winter wonderlands. The team also recognised that in order to make a lasting impact, that it was not just about putting on an event, but more about activating the body of Christ to build connections and relationships with their neighbours, workmates and partnering businesses.

The theme for the 2023 carols was ‘Prepare the Way’. Rather than ending the story at the baby in a manger, the hope was to present a very Jesus-centred program that was family oriented, fun, inviting and… wait for it… free! A huge financial stretch, but when you follow His leading, you can trust that He also looks after the details.

After six months of planning, building relationships with local businesses and food trucks, and co-ordinating more than 90% of the New Life Church community to volunteer in some way, the day arrived. On Saturday 9 December 2023 all systems were go. The weather changed from heat-wave conditions to cool and windy. Perfect conditions for the 200 pinwheels given out to all the children, the giant bubbles provided by Twisted Science Echuca, and the children’s petting zoo from Billabong Ranch. There were steady queues for the 760+ free sausages, the popcorn, fairy floss and snow cones. All of this was joyfully provided to bless the community which has not only struggled through Covid-19, but also the devastating floods of 2022. The anticipation was such that the hill at the Soundshell was full before the carols even began.

The carols program told the story of the nativity and pointed to the Jesus beyond the manger, that He came to prepare a way for salvation. The message was well received, and feedback continued throughout the weeks following. The carols musicians were from a number of the local churches all collaborating together with the one heart and spirit.

It was a phenomenal event that was well received by all who attended. We are thankful to God for the opportunity we have every Christmas to present Jesus to open hearts and pray that our new connections in the wider Echuca Moama community will grow and flourish.

A special thank you to the BUV Mission Catalyst team for supporting our vision with the humbling gift of a community grant to bless the community of Echuca Moama.

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