Is Christmas Dreams a Church Marketing Nightmare?

June 4, 2009 by

It looks like Covenant Community Church is up to some big business in Christmas, Fla. They want to open Christmas Dreams, a Santa-themed park for terminally ill children and their families to visit. Don’t believe me? Try the Orlando Sentinel:

The group is trying to raise money to build a theme park for use mostly by terminally ill children and their families.

“We’d be able to say that it’s always Christmas in Christmas,” said the Rev. Jeff Dixon, a project proponent and pastor at Covenant Community Church in Sanford.

The group’s vision is for families to spend several days at the park after taking a “time machine” limo from the airport to Christmas.

The park would be built inside a large warehouse, where reindeer would fly in the snow to Santa’s house. The park would feature a giant Christmas tree, 25-plus feet high.

Details, renderings and the opportunity to buy an elf brick for $1,000 to support the cause are available at

I didn’t hold back my thoughts on Christmas, Santa Claus and the whole shebang back in December. I do, however, have to give this a little more credit than the present-fueled rage that is the final three months of the year. At least this church is looking for creative ways to reach out to those suffering from terminal illnesses.

This church obviously has great intentions. And they are looking to share the message that God cares about those who might otherwise feel abandoned. I’m just unsure if a $12 million celebration of an imaginary fat man in a red suit is the best medium for that message.

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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11 Responses to “Is Christmas Dreams a Church Marketing Nightmare?”

  • Tim Chermak
    June 4, 2009

    I definitely believe the line between “good intentions” and “horrible idea” is blurred in today’s church world. Some ideas seem moronic to me; when in fact, God may use them to accomplish His will here on Earth, in spite of my criticisms.
    I think this is a horrible idea and a giant waste of resources that could be put to much better use.
    However, God may choose to bless this project, and I wish them the best of luck.
    I in no way am critical of their intentions or their heart, I just think it’s a bad idea when we already have a problem with consumerism in our culture.

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  • Rick Wilson
    June 5, 2009

    Good intentions sure – but a terrible idea. The Christmas season is a very challenging time for people of color who have to live with white imagery in Christian circles all year (magazines, books, teaching materials etc.). But beginning in November with Santa Claus and numerous manger scenes – it’s an onslaught on the senses. White Santa and white baby Jesus are a pretty brutal combination!

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  • UptownHippie
    June 5, 2009

    Why not just go to the already-existing Holiday World and throw Halloween and Thanksgiving in there, too? :-)

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  • iHateChurch
    June 5, 2009

    :: L-A-M-E ::

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  • Reality Seeker
    June 14, 2009

    You know it may not sound like a great idea to most who read this website, but I think that we have to be willing to let people follow the call of God in their lives.
    I sure am glad that God didn’t place any of us in charge, after reading some of the posts, and reading some of the unspiritual thoughts that are often posted I have to conclude that God is doing things and working in ways that we just will not understand.
    Taking the time to do some research on this church and what they do is interesting. They have an amazing history of giving back to the community and are doing things to make a real difference in the culture. It is so easy to sit on the sidelines and be critical, at least this is a group of people who are called to do something. The call of God for many is to do nothing more than sit back critique and be critical. Whew! That is real tough isn’t it?
    Terminally ill children need to know the hope of Jesus. What a better way to show them than a Christmas experience? My prayers and hope are with them. I will be anxiously watching what happens.

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  • church evangelism ideas
    August 17, 2009

    While I agree their evangelism efforts are with good intentions I think it may be misguided. The message may be intended as “Jesus cares for you” but it comes across as “Santa cares for you”.

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  • MP
    October 8, 2009

    While you may be skeptical of the intentions that we have at Covenant Community Church or the method of Christmas Dreams, it is a truly awesome idea that I’m glad to be a part of. Obviously the Orlando Sentinel didn’t capture everything we are about and Reality Seeker gets it. This is as much for the families as it is for the ill child and it allows them to experience Christmas, which the kids may not make it to. Part of Christmas is Santa Claus and the history of Santa is St. Nicholas, who was a Christian, so Santa being included in not a bad thing.
    One of the neatest things that we have planned is the kids and their families will spend some one on one time with Santa where they will tell Santa what they want, pick out their favorite Christmas Story and Santa will read it to them and then Santa will tell them his favorite Christmas story, which is the story of Christ. Santa’s house will be positioned with a window that looks out and sees a manger scene that comes to life.
    There will be many opportunities to minister to the families, some as out in the opened as their encounter with Santa and others that will be more subtle.
    Our new, more informative website is almost finished and should be online soon. You can reach the website at or

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  • MP
    October 8, 2009

    Here is another link to a page on Covenant Community Church’s website that has the audio and video of the morning we unpacked the vision of this ministry for the church.

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  • Greg Powell
    October 9, 2009

    I watched the video and I am not kidding, I thought it was a joke. No?

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  • Robert Browner
    January 27, 2010

    I came in contact with the ministry of the church sponsoring this when they provided an amazing Christmas for my two teenagers. Our family was one of hundreds of families this church took care of during the holidays. Times were tough then, they are better now, I am thankful for their ministry.
    I am amazed that “Christians” seem to be upset or angered by the way a ministry is trying to take care of and grant wished to terminally ill children and their families. I am extremely thankful that taking care of these special people is not up to all of the Christian bloggers who do nothing but criticize and critique.
    If a ministry desires to grant wishes of dying children do they really have to do it your way? If the way they are doing it does not line up with what you would do why not do something besides be critical? Get off your keyboard and start doing something, anything to help beside being angry, frustrated, and critical.
    I am thankful for people who are willing to work in spite of critics and make dreams come true.

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  • Jared Smith
    February 16, 2010

    The concept has great intentions but the means and the resources needed to fuel this project are so substantial that you can already anticipate a hefty critic’s corner.
    Religious Broadcasting

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