Four ways your church can prepare for Christmas
Christmas has snuck up on me, once again. While I’m still trying to figure out how on earth it’s December already, those around me have already finished their Christmas shopping, presents wrapped and menu planned.
Hopefully, your church began planning Christmas months ago, and already has a plan, theme and strategy to get you through the Christmas season. But if Christmas has snuck up on your church, thankfully it’s not too late to start thinking through this incredible mission opportunity.
You’re likely to get many visitors through your doors this Christmas, many of whom won’t know Jesus and will only be attending out of tradition, out of respect, or out of obligation.Here are four things you can do this Christmas to adorn the gospel, to remove obstacles to people hearing Jesus, and make the most of your Christmas opportunities.
1. Coach your congregation
Start preparing your congregation now. Encourage them to be outward-focused on Christmas day, intentionally seeking newcomers. Ask them to park a little further away than they normally would, to leave the best car spaces for visitors. Prep your congregation to do all they can to make Christmas Day a positive experience for first-time attendees to your church.
2. Have something ready to distribute
Be prepared for people to ask for more information. If someone asks you about your kids’ ministry, youth group, mid-week groups or Sunday services, make sure you have something tangible to offer them. It doesn’t need to be elaborate. If you don’t have time to make a comprehensive 12-page guide to your church, complete with a separate brochure for every ministry, a nicely presented business card directing people to your website will be just as effective. But make sure that if you do this, you’re also working on tip #3!
3. Conduct a website audit
Now is the time to make sure your website is up-to-date. Scan through every page, making sure details are still correct, old events have been removed, typos have been corrected, dates and times are accurate — your church website will be getting more traffic than normal at this time of year, so make sure your website looks like it belongs to a church that’s worth visiting!!! Try to also get something “Christmassy” on your homepage. Most web users only remain on a webpage for three seconds, so if a visitor hasn’t found Christmas information by then, they may never find it.
4.Think about the children
Many churches don’t run their regular Sunday School programs on Christmas Day. This is totally fine, but bear in mind that kids are kids, and if they struggle to sit through a sermon on a normal Sunday, how much more difficult will it be on Christmas! If your church can’t provide supervision for children on Christmas day, make sure you’re prepared with activity packs, colouring, worksheets or books to occupy the little ones. And this isn’t just fortheir benefit — if children are creating a distraction, it’s going to cause an obstacle to other people hearing the Bible. This is a gospel issue. For the sake of the gospel and its hearers, make sure your children are catered for.
Christmas is such an opportunity for churches, as it brings along people who, for 51 weeks of the year, are hostile or indifferent to the gospel. But for this one week in the year, they are willing to step into a church building to hear the life changing news of Jesus. Make sure your church is prepared for this wonderful opportunity!