Christmas Caroling Done Right: Unity in Santa Cruz

I’d like to propose the Ambassador Model for Unity. I first realized this from the Multi-University meeting at Stanford, where most of the attendees were connected through my ambassadorial efforts. Second attempt of unity was the Multi-Church Caroling on December 10th. Let’s be real, most Christian groups are not organized well enough or are too prideful to be able to establish the right channels for unity. I mean, I’ve yet to see the honor, humility, and grace it takes to build true and lasting unity. This new model, the Ambassador Model for Unity (AMU), functions through authentic and lasting relationships, foregoing the “leadership” of Christian organization.

AMU is like throwing a big party and inviting all the people you love, knowing that friend that’s never met that other friend will meet. You might not be able to get the leadership to announce your event, but your friends that go there will want to come because they’ll get to hang out with you. AMU proposes that the best way to do something together is to know and care about the people you are doing stuff with. This all started back in 2003, when Ikey and I would venture through all 23 Christian groups on campus at University of Delaware.

So how did the Multi-Church Caroling go? Well, let me see: Progressive Missionary Baptist, Vintage Faith, UCSC Grad Student Fellowship, Twin Lakes, Firestarters, Harp & Bowl, Antioc Church of Santa Cruz, and two or three other churches that I didn’t catch. So yea, most people there didn’t know most of the other people there, but of the, about 25 or so, people there, I knew them all. For many of these groups, only one person was represented, but it didn’t take long to get with the program.

We sang the Christmas standards, did a few of my gospel choir faves, and 1 or 2 originals from the choir leaders. I knew that the musical leadership was strong enough that I didn’t have to do much with the music. As far as organizationally, the personalities that’d be there were strong enough that my opinions wouldn’t matter much anyhow, so I knew to not sweat about that either. Food and other goodies were non-essential, and thanks to a few volunteers, we came back from our caroling to a great set-up for food and fellowship. Basically, my focus was on getting people to show up.

We started at Elm St Mission and rocked their socks off for those who were helping out with the homeless every Friday night. Then we went to the Metro station and sang to the cars and buses driving by. It was great warm up (on an unusually warm night). We made another stop further downtown, and ran into Cabrillo’s choir, where we exchanged songs and did a few numbers together. We created a caroling tunnel between the two choirs.

Afterwards, we came back to rest, eat, and hang out. What was point of it all? Well, it was fun. It took the presence of church, prayer, and God into the streets in a way that was alluring and beautiful. We were able to bless the people on the streets, and perhaps strongholds were loosed in the unseen. People were out of their comfort area, many singing songs that they’d never heard before, interacting with strangers, and being out there.

For me, I guess the big takeaway is the same for what was that of the Multi-University Prayer: that there was some remnant of lasting and real relationships of people who would not have met otherwise. With each relationship does the Body of Christ become more apparent. On December 10, 2010, we had people from a variety of churches, races, and ages together having a good time doing what we do best.

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