On Sunday 23rd December, Oxford Baptist Church transformed their auditorium and hall into a Nativity-themed bustling ‘night market’ that drew around 500 people.
Visitors received a list of activity stations, which had costumed actors representing various Nativity characters. During each short narration, people listened for clues to questions on their activity sheet. After completing these, they could go to a ‘redemption station’ where young children received Bible story books and sweets.
Optional stations involved activities in a pottery and carpenter’s tent, identifying spices at a spice market, receiving a fruit kebab at the fruit stall, and sampling Jewish cakes at the bakery. Jewish dancing, balloon animals, face painting and a photo booth completed the festive atmosphere. Prayers of blessing were offered at the prayer tent; most accepted and were deeply thankful.
Oxford Baptist’s Children’s Pastor, Tamar Hylands, pays tribute to Hosanna Baptist, Porirua, who supplied helpful scripts and ideas. She says theming it as a night market, as if walking the streets in Bethlehem, was God‑inspired.
“Our Senior Pastor, Greg Morris, wanted to do something for our community at Christmas. Although I spearheaded it, it was a combined effort and the congregation got on board with the vision. It created such a buzz in our church and we can see that the Holy Spirit was over everything we did.
“This was not just about putting on entertainment for our community. Everyone who had a narrated part was really sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. Sadly, a lot of people won’t come to church on a Sunday morning. So we asked the Lord, how can we celebrate Christmas this year with the non‑churched of our community, who need to hear your Word and experience your love? How can we frame this so that it is non‑threatening, fun, about family and community, and have the whole morning solely focused on our Lord Jesus? I think we ticked all the boxes to that!”