At Christmas Christians become slightly more daring in their evangelistic outreach and in many instances this includes fire! The tradition of a carol service lit by candles or a Christingle Service often results in increased attendance of young and old alike.
The question is – are you ready?
With the introduction of candles and fire, there is a need not only for good preparation but increased vigilance. The best preparation is to carry out as soon as possible a risk assessment for any event depending on its content and taking actions in response to that assessment to eliminate or significantly reduce risks.
If you have not done this before, then it may be possible to speak to a local school and request a copy of a risk assessment they may have prepared for an event or activity involving similar items. This will give you a good idea about what to think about and provide. This should also promote good planning well in advance and adopting a team approach so that “regulars” are either actively involved or area aware of what is going on and what to do when something goes wrong. For example the risk assessment will look at what should happen at a candlelit service if a lit candle falls out of its holder and assess the possible impacts and propose possible actions.
The intention is to be ready for anything that might happen rather than being surprised and panicking. It will also help the atmosphere of the event to be calm and welcoming rather than on edge and slightly miserable. Additionally people who are new to a meeting will not know what to do so a clear explanation at the beginning will be very helpful to all concerned and prevent people acting unilaterally. For example, about when to stand and sit, where the fire exits are, where the toilets are and what to do at the end of the meeting will all help things to run smoothly. It will also commend the gospel as we show our love and concern for all those who join us to celebrate the birth of our and their Saviour.