By James J. Kang, Director of Communications of the California-Pacific Conference of The United Methodist Church
There was a great feeling of anticipation (and I even took a deep breath) when I posted the details of our upcoming Communicating Christmas 2018 workshop on September 29, 2018 at First United Methodist Church of Riverside. It will be a meaningful moment to experience a new process of planning a local church’s Advent/Christmas efforts according to some of the social dynamics identified below. (Of course I would say this – it’s my own workshop. But, there’s only one way to know if it’s true, right?)
What We Know: For purposes of brevity, let’s try focusing on moms of the millennial generation and that, according to some recent research, “75% of (such) mothers are in the workforce, and most don’t have a choice but to work, one in five of a mom’s meals will be in a car, the average dinnertime (at a dinner table) lasts 12 minutes, and that 80% of moms don’t know what they are having for dinner at 4:00 P.M.” (Forbes) Of course, we always have to take into account differences per demographic characteristics when it comes to such statistics. But, it might be safe to say that, these aspects probably become more stress-ors than relax-ers in the lives of such persons and families during the Advent/Christmas season compared to the rest of the year.
What We Wish: My prayer is that we in ministry would see these as pre-veniently (although not con-veniently) grace-filled moments and ask ourselves, “How can we earn these working moms’ trust and respect in reading our blog, and being in dialogue with us about, faith-inspired perspectives on vocational discernment, beliefs on the meaning of employment, and hopes for, and definition of, advancement? How can they either choose our podcast to listen to, or use our method of reflecting on a podcast, during their in-car meal? How can something from our church social media channels be helpful in the means and/or content of talk at the 12-minute meal table?”
What We Need: This Advent/Christmas, what we will need are leaders who are willing to put something on the line in order for new transformation of lives to take place. We might need to consider an Instagram video message as a clarion call for hope like a star in the east. We might need to believe that our newest blog post is the wise message to escape conditions of oppression. We might need to concede that one’s car or dinner table is the manger in which there will be a birth and our church building the inn in which there is not yet room. In any case, what we all will first need is to be willing to be engaged by God in making new plans for this Advent/Christmas.
The time is now to step into God’s current of Transforming Lives.