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Top tips to help your church reach out this Christmas

With Christmas rapidly approaching, Gary Gibbs offers some great ideas for local church leadership teams to help them make the most of the festive season.

Depending on when you read this, there aren't many weekends left before Christmas arrives.

In an ideal world, your church will already be well advanced in its preparations to celebrate the birth of Jesus and to use the occasion to reach so many people in your community who will readily accept an invitation to come to a Christmas service or event.

I read somewhere recently that around 47% of Brits go to church at Christmas: what an opportunity!

Without wanting to be patronising, here is a list of actions church leaders can take in the next couple of weeks to maximise the evangelistic impact of Christmas.

At both services, there are a few key things we need to remember:

May this Christmas be a brilliant time of effective outreach to our communities!

  1. Think quickly about the two Sundays in December before Christmas. We have the chance of having two very good bites of the cherry (or the mince pie) this year. What are the two big ideas that you will put into practice on these consecutive Sunday mornings? Make a decision and then start telling the church asap!
  2. Invitation cards are useful. You can get some ordered from Christian Publicity Organisation or if you have great designers in the church, use companies such as Instantprint or Solopress to produce your publicity.
  3. Perhaps do something a little bit different on 17 December and keep 24 December for a carol service. You could theme the service around a title such as ‘Christmas Unwrapped’ or ‘Rediscovering Christmas’. Depending on the timing of your service, you could begin or end with a pre-service activity such as ‘Get in the Picture!’ Have drinks and mince pies on offer at the same time and, depending on your view, possibly have Santa making an appearance?
  4. Have some literature available to give to guests “As an early Christmas present!” REACH has produced a full-colour evangelistic booklet, ‘Christmas: a chance to discover…’ which is available to Elim churches for 25p each. It may be that by the time you read this our entire stock may be sold out, but try us!
  5. Ensure that after you have done all your great ‘events’ over Christmas you have an Alpha Course or similar starting in January so people can continue on the journey to Jesus.

 

At all your Christmas services, there are a few key things we need to remember:

  • If primary school age kids take part, you get parents, grandparents, older siblings, aunts and uncles, neighbours etc. turning up! It could be a song or two, a short play or some readings.
  • Sing really well-known carols! Don’t experiment too much, especially with the Carol service!
  • Do a KISS sermon (Keep It Simple Stupid). This means that it will be short, have a few stories in it and not contain any ‘deep’ theology. Oh, and it will be directly about Christmas!
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. The main things that could go wrong are: 
    • Firstly that whoever is doing readings is either not loud enough, is monotone or has not practised enough and so stumbles over unfamiliar words. e.g. righteous, Immanuel, Magi, Quirinius, manger (‘manager’).
    • Secondly, make sure the projection screen operator is fully ‘on it’ with getting the words to the carols up in time so that the congregation are not having to guess the first line of the next verse!
    • One more thing: if your worship band is youngish, they may not know the carols that well and either play them badly or at a wrong speed. Once again, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!!

 

May this Christmas be a brilliant time of effective outreach to our communities!

Gary Gibbs invites you to step out of your comfort zone and use your gifts for the Kingdom
Find out about the REACH Evangelists Conference
Gary Gibbs shares some helpful tips to help increase your confidence in being a mature witness of Jesus.
Take a look at the pioneering work of Ignite Church, Lincoln, which is now established as a fully-fledged church.

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Monday 19 March
Elim ministers spend the day on a special day for evangelists.
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Monday 24 September 10:00am
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