The Advent Season Kicks Off Next Sunday
After a long hiatus (nearly 6 months) I’m back to share a few thoughts about how churches can use social media to help members of your congregation experience Advent in a new way.
Advent officially kicks off this Sunday. Many non-denominational protestant churches often trade any real discussion of Advent for a message series that is a little “hipper”. Bashing consumerism, stealing the spotlight back from Santa, or calling attention to the world’s poor and unfortunate may be more popular topics. My church was no exception, until this year.
Maybe this is a sign that in the protestant, non-denominational church world there is a revival of tradition. Is your non-denominational church using Advent to guide your Sunday mornings this Christmas Season?
Understanding the Meaning of Advent
Until a few weeks ago, my understanding of Advent was limited to lighting a candle each week and reading a verse-a-day from Jesus’ birth story in the gospels. I thought this was pretty bad, but it turns out, there are many people in so-called “non-traditional” churches that know even less about Advent. Let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that this is a bad thing.
Regardless of the content of your Sunday morning messages leading up to Christmas, there are some valuable lessons to be learned that I think only digging into Advent can teach. The most valuable is expectation.
This past Sunday at The Journey Church Community we kicked off our Advent message series by introducing “The Jesus Year”. The Jesus Year is my church’s new name for the Liturgical Calendar. Totally hipster, I know.
As the Pastor was laying the ground work for The Jesus Year and the meaning of Advent my mind started to wander…
What would our world look like without Jesus? What would it look like without “Church”? How would I feel to have the faith I currently have gone?
Would all hope be lost?
It felt empty. Jesus, faith and church are so familiar that their real power and worth are lost on me. I’ve had them in my life for almost 10 years now and it is incredibly hard to imagine a world where their existence is but a faint hope.
However, this is how things were when Jesus was born in a manger.
Hope of Things to Come
The purpose of Advent is to cultivate “expectation” – a hope of things to come.
Tucked away, in what has become to many, a lame Christian tradition, is a pathway to helping people to get in touch with the hope and expectation that was present in a world without Jesus. While I’m only at the beginning of my own Advent journey, I can’t help but think there are some really powerful truths that I may experience for the first time.
Rather than skirting around Advent, may you consider using it as a vehicle to impart some really powerful lessons to your church. And of course, here are some ways I think you can use social media as a tool to assist with your “Advent ministry” until Christmas.
Social Media Ideas for the Advent Season
- Tweet or post your way through an “Advent Calendar” with links to supplementary videos/photos/info. This Advent Guide came highly recommended from a woman at my church.
- Share how-to links for creating Advent candle wreathes, boxes, and other sundry crafts. Ask members of your congregation to share photos of their final creation. Check out this classic advent wreath.
- Tweet or post Advent tips for families. Most families in your church will have no idea of how to get their family involved in the advent ritual. Suggest wonderful resources, like this Starwars Advent Calendar.
Do you have any other ideas?