Christ and the Company Christmas Party

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?

company Christmas party

Christian Ministry Practices

Christian ministryThis 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.

The Results

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.

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  • A. Amos Love

    Thank you Jesus.

    Thank you  Chris. 

    Amen – “not a dry eye in the house”  :^/

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      Thanks Amos. I am glad you enjoyed it!

  • Anonymous

    Chris, thanks for living what you profess. The company CHRISTmas event your employees and their spouses experienced was worship at its best, and fun for all. It proves Christians can have fun living their faith and enjoy awesome fellowship too! God Bless your commitment to Christ…

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      Thanks Coach!  I appreciate your encouragement and support.  

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    Wow, Chris. That’s awesome.
    I guess it makes sense that if you’ve been living as a man of character, you’ve “earned” the ability and privilege of sharing with your employees. It makes your witness that much more real, you know?

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      Thanks Loren. Yeah, it is difficult for anyone to share their faith if they are not living it. At the same time, if we wait until we are living it perfectly, then we will never share!

      I think it boils down to doing the very best we can to intentionally live out our faith, sharing it at all times, and asking forgiveness when we stumble. If we do this well, people will take notice.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Humility begins with knowing who I really am outside of Jesus Christ–an enormously flawed character–and what God offers us in Christ–the inheritance of a King. Not something I earned. Something He gave.

        What we extend to others is not only a testimony but a gift, the same one offered to us through Jesus Christ. And if a person’s hungry, he accepts and eats.

        • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

          Very true, Tom.  

          We are all hungry…some just choose the wrong food and it fails to satisfy them, right?

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            Amen! It’s the hunger that we’ve had and it’s the hunger we need to remember when someone hears but doesn’t respond. On the other hand, isn’t it a blessing when God uses you to bring the Bread of life into a receptive heart?

          • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

            Absolutely.

            Chris Patton

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    I should have read this yesterday. My wife’s company party was last night. Interestingly though, I had the opportunity to listen to another invited guest about her love for the union. A part of her devotion is based on a decade-long negative experience in a non-unionized job. Most of our devotion to a person or a cause can be traced back to a sense of betrayal vs. backing. As a Christian, I am devoted to Jesus Christ because, even when I didn’t deserve it, he backed me (i. e. loved and affirmed me, offered me a generous helping of grace).

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      Me too!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Thanks for sharing the video, Chris. Sports Illustrated had an extended article about Team Hoyt this year (late summer-early fall 2011). The piece shared both the amazing grit and the wearing reality of growing older.

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      The story and the message are truly powerful, but the physical strength Dick exhibited is mind-blowing to me!

  • Russ

    I was fortunate to be in a Bible study group with your Dad (Mike) during the time that you showed this at your Christmas party.  Mike brought the video and showed it to the Bible study group.  In this group too, there was not a dry eye in the house.  Though very touched by the video at the time,  I “kinda” forgot about Team Hoyt until reading their story in Sports Illustrated this year.  Now I am thinking about showing the video in a team building effort next spring.

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      Good for you, Russ! I think it is very appropriate for that topic. There are many different directions you could go in that setting.

  • Bradley J Moore

    Chris, that sounds like a very courageous turning point for you. What’s great about it was how much thought and care you put into the delivery of your message.

    I was just at a company Christmas party last week (I am a board member ) where there is a traditional invocation. It’s a nice prayer at the beginning, and I really appreciate that they do this. It helps that it’s a small company and the board members are mostly Catholic!

    Otherwise, I think it depends on the situation – whether you are in a private company vs. public, for instance, is a big one.

    In any case, you set a great example here for being bolder than we might have originally thought to be.

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      Thanks Bradley! You are right about it being a turning point. I still look back on that time with wonder!

      Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Randy

    Awesome post Chris, as always. You are making a great difference with this blog. Keep up the good work!

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      Thanks Randy! As always, I really appreciate the encouragement!

  • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

    Thanks David! That means a lot to me!

  • http://www.benjermcveigh.com/ Benjer McVeigh

    Awesome. I love hearing stories of how people simply share about Jesus wherever God has placed them

    • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

      Thanks Benjer! If you read some of the posts under the HISTORY tab, you will notice I tried to walk away from this business to go and share my faith. That’s when God showed me I could do it right here through the business!

      I am glad I listened. He has used this business to impact many people since then (and will impact even more in the future!).

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  • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

    Chris, I will never forget it either! You made it happen by getting the video put together! Thanks for your part and your support through it all…I truly appreciate it!

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  • Tosin Ojumu

    This is great and moving. What a privilege to be able to share Christ with your employees in a gentle but effective way! ;)

    • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

      Thanks Tosin!

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