Intergenerational Ministry Presents Salvation Story

January 21, 2015 | Heidi Baumgartner

One week after the Journey to Bethlehem (J2B) production in Auburn, the church community sat in the semicircle sanctuary of Auburn Adventist Academy Church and shared their memories and reflections. It wasn’t just the adults who shared stories though. Teenagers and children participated too, whether with a spoken or written contribution.

With more than 400 people participating in the ninth annual interactive outdoor drama, this is an intergenerational ministry for the community.

“We put on our costumes and forget our ages,” says Tom Decker, Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA) principal and one of the J2B guides. “We see teenagers, children and adults unified in their purpose in telling the story of Jesus in a very real way.”

Auburn students Victor Moore, a senior from Snoqualmie, and Karina Cole, a senior from Walla Walla, were guides during each 45-minute tour. After launching the intensity of their journey as “spies for King Herod” and finding clues to the story, guests find themselves wrapped up in the story of the journey to Bethlehem where they have to pay family taxes and be counted in the census. When they are thrown out of the city, the "families" of 20–25 people come to the shepherds in the field.

“The angel scene is a good step between Bethlehem and the manger,” Cole says, because it starts to provide resolution to the story. Then they approach the favorite scene at the manger with a “real, live baby Jesus” (portrayed by a rotating cast of babies) to bring the journey full circle.

“We live in an increasingly biblically illiterate society that needs the story of salvation shared in an engaging way,” says Bill Roberts, outgoing AAA Church senior pastor and one of the guides. “It is a pleasure to work with our church community to present this production. We see God at work in people’s lives.”

This ninth year of the production represents 37 total days in December when there has been no substantial rain to stop the production. Dedicated prayer warriors and cast members pray for a hedge of protection around the production and remember years when the rain stopped within minutes of the first tour group launching.

“When I think of J2B, I think, ‘Only God,’” says Wilma Bing, J2B producer and AAA Church associate pastor. “He takes care of the weather, 400 cast members and 5,000 guests.”