The Living Nativity celebrates 10 years

First Assembly of God in Searcy welcomes visitors to experience the miraculous birth of Jesus through the powerful message of The Living Nativity.

The Christmas story comes alive in a remarkable way as First Assembly transforms the outside of the church to reflect the hustle and bustle of biblical times. Visitors take a trip back in time as they are immersed in all the sights, sounds and smells of Bethlehem.

The spectacular production involves nearly 300 church members, exotic animals, handmade costumes and crafts to set the scene for the Nativity. As visitors come face-to-face with the intimidating Roman guards at the city gates, they are swept into an authentic and multi-dimensional experience of the first Christmas.  

True to the story told in Luke 2, the Nativity includes replicas of Herod’s palace, the inn with a “No Vacancy” sign, multiple storefronts, the temple, tents of the three wise men and the manger. Church members portray Bethlehem townspeople as they would have appeared on the first Christmas night.

Children’s Pastor Mark Ferren is also the master craftsman of the town, constructing much of the Bethlehem scene from Styrofoam in phenomenal detail.

“Our church started The Living Nativity 10 years ago to share the true story of Christmas,” he said. “Every building, character and costume in the Nativity was handmade to portray the biblical account of the night Christ was born. We want to give visitors a genuine experience of the night that changed the world.”

According to Ferren, the church has welcomed 88,000 visitors from throughout Arkansas and neighboring states to The Living Nativity over the past nine years. This year, he said they hope to welcome 12,000 visitors to reach a milestone of 100,000 guests.

“It is a God-sized goal, but we believe what Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, that ‘with God, all things are possible,’” he said. “And, we are making special arrangements for the 100,000 visitor – it will be a great celebration.”

The Living Nativity is free to the public and will be open the weekends of Dec. 5-7 and Dec. 12-14. It will be open 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sundays. The church is located at 101 S. Benton St.

For more information, please visit or contact Mark Ferren at 501.278.6354.