by patricia salcedo
as our Worship Center glitters with gold, red, and green, we welcome women of all ages to celebrate the sweetest Gift ever given. A Sweet Celebration, our annual Christmas event, marks its tenth year on Wednesday, December 7. Throughout the years, A Sweet Celebration has lifted spirits with Christmas carols and encouraging messages—and entire buildings full of sweet treats. In light of this special anniversary, read on to learn about the history of this event and get a sneak peek of this year’s program. When asked about the purpose behind A Sweet Celebration, long-time event coordinator Trista Hoffman answered, “To sum it up, the main purposes are the giving of the Gospel, outreach, and fellowship—and chocolate would come in a close fourth!” A Sweet Celebration is meant to kick off the Christmas season with an event that feels warm and friendly, making it easy for women to invite their friends and neighbors to our church without the intimidation of a Sunday morning service. “The Gospel is always presented as part of the message,” Trista explained, “and for many who attend, it’s the first time they are hearing the Good News of Christ.” (continued on page 2)
(page 1 continued) The first Sweet Celebration was hosted in the Multi-Purpose Room, which seated 1,500 and served as the worship area before our current Worship Center was built. The event coordinators hoped maybe a couple hundred women would show up—and they sure did, packing the house at 1,535 attendees with 150-plus on the wait list. The evening featured a jazz band and a lively, heartfelt conversation between Mary Graham and Lucy Swindoll, making the whole event feel like a safe place and opening doors for spiritual conversations to follow. “It was chaotic, but there was a beautiful energy,” Karen Hawkins, pastoral leader of Community Care, said about the first event. “There were no online ticket sales at that time, and my favorite part was seeing that everyone I sold to bought more than one ticket. Everyone was buying tickets for their neighbors and friends, for their coworkers—some bought ten or more at once!” So the goal of being a welcoming, guest-friendly event was met, as it has been every year since.
Though the event has changed and grown over time, certain traditions have carried on since the beginning—including the volunteers who man the event. Since women often serve at big holiday events like this, the Sweet Celebration coordinators decided to give the ladies a break and asked Stonebriar men to do the job. Men from our Sunday Fellowships and boys from our Junior High Ministries came together to serve the women of Stonebriar and their guests that first night in 2006, and more have joined their ranks since then. Not only is this a welcome reprieve for the women, but the camaraderie among the younger and older gentlemen as they serve together makes this night even sweeter. This year’s Sweet Celebration will include the delicious treats and carols we know and love, with a message brought by special guest Rebecca Carrell of 90.9 KCBI. Tickets are $5 each and are now available at information desks throughout the church campus or on our website [keyword: sweet celebration]. Volunteers are still needed to prepare treats, and our gentlemen are especially welcome to step up and serve on the night of the event. Whether you attend with a friend or volunteer to serve, you can help make this year’s celebration sweeter than ever before.
Each new year is an opportunity to prayerfully consider your path and ask God to renew your heart and mind. Here are several ideas for how you can grow in the Lord and serve Him at Stonebriar in 2017. Connect with a Home Fellowship to grow in relationships with God’s people. Stonebriar Home Fellowships meet all over the Dallas area and offer meeting times that accommodate any schedule [keyword: fellowships]. Say yes to serving on our Sunday Welcome Team or in our Children’s Ministries classrooms. Keep up with ProjectServe needs in our Worship Guide and online [keyword: projectserve]. Join a Sunday Fellowship or equipping class to deepen your knowledge of our God alongside others. Discuss fundamental questions at Starting Point, learn to train others at Equipping Disciples, or discover community at one of our 20-plus Sunday Fellowships this January [keywords: equipping and fellowships]. Lead a small group for our Preteen or Student Ministries on Wednesday nights or Sunday mornings. Support and materials are provided— all you need is the desire to impact our teens in Christ’s name [keywords: preteen and students]. Pray for our Stonebriar missionaries, staff, and elders each week, or join one of our prayer groups, such as Moms in Prayer, Grandmothers in Prayer, and Stonebriar Prays [keyword: prayer]. Reach our community beyond these walls with our Missional Living and Community Care ministries. Give of your time during large events like Feed My Starving Children February 17–18 or weekly at Good News Clubs or C-Kids [keywords: missional living and community care].
heavenand nature Hear the glad tidings of Christ’s birth through Stonebriar’s musical programs and worship services this December, and begin the new year with thanks and praise. For full information regarding holiday services and office closures, visit [keyword: holidays]. Help create gift bags for the homeless in South Dallas through Comfort & Joy. Visit the Comfort & Joy kiosk November 27–December 11 for a list of needed items and information about volunteering. Adult volunteers are needed to serve lunch to the homeless on Christmas Eve [keyword: go and be].
Let Earth Receive Her King: Sanctuary Choir & Orchestra Christmas Program Sunday, December 4 at 9 and 10:45 a.m. in the Worship Center Our Christmas season will begin with a musical celebration of Christ’s birth. Sunday Fellowships and children’s programs will meet as usual. For those who cannot attend the Sunday concert, an open rehearsal will take place Saturday, December 3 at 11 a.m. Childcare will not be available for the Saturday open rehearsal.
Tidings of Comfort and Joy: Children and Youth Choirs Christmas Program Sunday, December 11 at 6 p.m. in the Worship Center Join us for an evening of worship as the Stonebriar elementary and youth choirs present fresh arrangements of traditional Christmas songs in celebration of Christ’s birth. Childcare will be available by reservation online [keyword: concert].
Christmas Eve Service Saturday, December 24 at 5 p.m. in the Worship Center All is calm, all is bright—and Christmas Eve is the time to remember God’s gift in wonder with our families.
Christmas Day Service Sunday, December 25 at 10:30 a.m. in the Worship Center Once the gifts are all unwrapped, come and celebrate the Gift of our Savior during one special Sunday service. Childcare is available by reservation [keyword: holidays].
New Year’s Day Service Sunday, January 1 at 10:30 a.m. in the Worship Center Begin 2017 with worship and God’s Word as we gather for one special service on New Year’s Day. Our regular children’s programs will be available during this service.
join us this
and into the new year
www.stonebriar.org [keyword: sweet celebration]
www.stonebriar.org [keyword: jhm events]
www.stonebriar.org [keyword: preteen]
www.stonebriar.org [keyword: linger]
www.stonebriar.org [keyword: hsm events]
www.stonebriar.org [keyword: fmsc]
glorifying God by encouraging all people to pursue a lifelong, joyous relationship with Jesus Christ senior pastor chuck swindoll • senior director of resource ministries carol spencer • communications director sandi garrett communications coordinator sarah mcfarlane • editor/writer patricia salcedo • senior graphic designer/writer susan jacobson graphic designer michelle sweeten • graphic designer melissa swanson • volunteer editor shelly king ©2016 Stonebriar Community Church, Frisco, Texas. The material within this publication may not be disseminated without permission. All inquiries, comments, suggestions, and story ideas may be e-mailed to our Communications Department at email@example.com.
4801 legendary drive, frisco, texas 75034