Tuesday, October 9, 2012

In the Marketplace

I've alluded to my busyness. And this here is a {small} look into what I've been busy doing. The second annual Marketplace 29 A.D. is underway this week. {You can read about last year.} Registration and publicity is my area in what is an event that has been supported in some way or another by more than 30 local churches.

Isn't that amazing?

Thirty churches -- Pentecostal, non-denominational, Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Church of Christ, Methodist -- have come together.

Number don't always impress me. I'm more of a story person. But these numbers speak to the story that God is writing here in Murray, Ky. We have 136 kids ages 5 to 12 years old {with a few 4-year-old kids sprinkled in so their moms could volunteer} from these 30 churches {with a few more well represented than the others}. Of the participants, 61 kids are homeschooled, 59 go to the two public school districts that are on fall break this week {and those split evenly at 31 and 28 from each of the two districts}, and nine go to the small, private Christian school {where there are 16 kids, including my daughter, who would be the right age to come}.

Part of the marketplace ...

What is Marketplace 29 A.D., you ask? Well, it's an elaborate vacation Bible school that involves a complete transformation of a downtown alley into a first-century marketplace. There are marketplace shops lining the narrow street and tents for each of the 13 tribes. {Our goal was 14 tribes -- the original 12 tribes of Israel plus the two half tribes that came later. Maybe next year!} There's a real blacksmith. 

Brick making

During the four mornings, the kids go with their tribe leaders to marketplace shops where they learn trades, synagogue school where this week they're learning about the Jewish feasts, music, dance, and storytelling. Tribes wear matching headbands and learn about Jewish family customs.

My daughter spied me while at synagogue school!

And ultimately, they learn about what Jesus' life would have been like when he was a child like them, when he performed miracles and raised the dead to life and spoke of how to come to his father, and when he paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could know grace and new life. That's why 30 churches come together. Our community is better off because of it and we pray these kids are never the same. Many of us sense this is only the beginning of something bigger God is doing right here in our small town. And we know the transformation that comes when you give yourself -- and your family -- to community.

I'm uploading pictures each day to a public album on Facebook if you want to see more of the marketplace. Want more? Subscribe to get "Insights" in your inbox. Or follow me on Twitter.

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