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Crosstowne Church in Milton, Ontario, thinks of two doors through which neighbours might encounter Christ through the church. The first, and perhaps primary door, opens through the relationships built through the rhythms of missional communities. The second, and still important door, is the front door of our building. Many people seeking to begin a journey to God will start by looking for a local church. 

The weight of the coronavirus pandemic has leaned against both the doors of relationship and location. Crosstowne’s added challenge is that they lost their ministry space during the pandemic and relocated to an old country church in a new and developing neighbourhood. 

And now as COVID-19 continues to affect our communities, Crosstowne’s approach to Advent was to experiment.

Their first experiment in the context of the new multicultural neighbourhood around their building was to promote an Advent series called All Nations Advent. Each Sunday there is storytelling, snacks, and special crafts connected to the unique ways Christmas is engaged by Christians around the world such as in the Dominican Republic, Uganda, the Netherlands, and Egypt. Several new families have already signed up!

The second experiment was to offer a Sticky Gift (i.e. a roll of tape with a gospel message) door to door, while including an invitation to a third experiment: a drive-in Christmas video called Christmas-off-the-Wall.  

As doors of opportunity for mission have been swinging closed for so long, where might God be calling you and your church to experiment this Advent?

John Bouwers, Mission Catalyzer for Classis Toronto and Church Planting Institute Canada

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