What does your company Christmas party look like? Is there a focus on (or even mention of) Christ, or is it all about socializing and blowing off some steam together outside of work? What is the purpose of the party? What should it be?
Christian Ministry Practices
This post is another in my ongoing series on what we do at our company in an attempt to integrate our Christian faith into our business. These practices are not perfect. I am not saying you should or should not do something similar. I am attempting to give fellow Christian business leaders examples of how to further apply their faith in their businesses.
I am often looking for opportunities to share the hope that I have. As I have described before, I do not want to force my beliefs on anyone in our company. At the same time, I do want to make sure I do not miss an opportunity to share the faith I have. My hope is that they see my heart and know I am not preaching at them, but only humbly sharing something I believe will change them forever!
New Approach To The Company Christmas Party
In light of that, I think the company Christmas party is a perfect opportunity to do this very thing. I have not always felt this way. In fact, it was not until eight Christmases ago that I began approaching our company party in this way. It was the same year I described in my post about painting the windows and I had just recently turned the business over to God.
As Christmas approached that year, I began to think about how to step out in faith and share my faith with the employees. To this point, I had been a silent witness. That year, I was determined to change that.
As we began to lay out the “agenda” for the party, I simply asked for 20 minutes at the end of the party for my remarks. This request did not raise any eyebrows. I also asked for video equipment to be available because I wanted to show a video. Again, no one questioned me.
I Was Nervous!
As the company Christmas party drew closer, I began to get anxious. I questioned whether I really needed to move forward with my plans or not. When the night of the party came, I was as nervous as I believe I have ever been. I was, quite frankly, scared to death! I was sweating and my legs felt like jell-o. I thought several times about just backing out of the whole thing!
As the night drew to a close, I knew I could not back out. So I did what I had committed to do. I stood up and went to the microphone and addressed the 100+ people there (employees, spouses, significant others). I began by describing the background to the video I was planning to show. [CLICK HERE for the text of that background]
Rick & Dick Hoyt Video
Next, I moved on to the video itself. Very few videos have moved me the way this one has. I had first seen it at the Promise Keepers conference that summer and knew then that I had to share it.
It was a five minute summary of the story of Dick and Rick Hoyt, father and son, and their experiences competing in triathlons together (see Team Hoyt). The catch is that Rick, the son, was 37 yrs old at the time and had suffered from cerebral palsy his entire life. Dick, the father, was 59 yrs old and carried (or pushed) his son the entire time!
After the video, there was not a dry eye in the house. The silence was deafening. I felt God fill me with strength and I stood there in front of them, full of emotion, but also full of strength!
The Message Of Christ
I immediately went into the reasons I had shown the video. I drew parallels between the love of father for son in the video and the love God has for us. I talked about how Dick Hoyt would do anything for his son to feel “free” from his handicaps just like God would do anything for us to feel “free” as well.
Then I told how God sent his only Son to die for that very purpose – that we would be free! I described the Gospel story in simple terms and explained that I wanted everyone there to experience it for themselves.
I encouraged them to give thanks if they had already experienced it. I encouraged them to think about it if they had not. I told them I was available at any point if they needed someone with whom they could talk. I then closed with prayer.
I cannot tell you all of the comments I received in appreciation for sharing. I cannot measure the impact that 20 minutes had because I am only aware of some of it. I can tell you that even today, as I type this, God fills my heart as I think back on that time. I would not trade it for anything.
I grew that night. I grew because I pressed through my fears and anxiety about sharing my faith. I grew because I saw the impact it could have on those around me in strengthening their faith. I grew because God used me despite my total physical breakdown!
Additionally, I started a pattern of focusing on Christ during our company Christmas party that I have continued each year since. While none have been as powerful (to me) since that first one, I know it is because it was a breakthrough for me. God is still using them!
Is Christ a part of your company Christmas party?
If not, is there something you can do to start this year?
If so, tell me about what you do and any results you have seen.