This season may be the best opportunity to impact the lost community around you. Here are ten outreach ideas for your church this Christmas.
By Diana Davis
The Christmas season may be one of the best opportunities of the year for church outreach. With just a couple of weeks remaining before Christmas day, it’s still not too late to impact the lost community around you. Here are ten last-minute outreach ideas that may fit your church this Christmas.
1. Christmas Sunday celebration
Intentionally invite your community to church for Sunday worship on Christmas morning after they open gifts. You’ve already planned the best music and sermon of the year, so advertise well and welcome guests to celebrate Jesus. Hang an outside banner invitation. Create an online invite for church members to repost on social media. Challenge members to invite friends and acquaintances. Our church even suggests kids wear pajamas that day. To celebrate the special day, a church might conclude its service by asking children to step into the aisles and lead in singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. Then serve a giant cake in the foyer. What an opportunity to mingle with guests and joyfully honor our Savior!
2. Free drive-through hot cocoa
Select a couple of the most trafficked hours on your church’s street and set up a well-marked drive-through area. Make a huge sign reading: “Free Hot Chocolate! 1-minute drive-through. Merry Christmas!” Purchase lidded disposable cups and hot cocoa ingredients with marshmallows, sprinkles, and whipped topping. Have a team quickly prepping the drinks and a separate team joyfully serving as cars drive through. Give each person a warm smile, a friendly greeting, a hot cup of cocoa, and a printed invitation to Christmas events and Sunday worship. This could be a fun project for college students, singles, deacons, or choir members in your church.“The Christmas season may be one of the best opportunities of the year for church outreach.” — Diana Davis Click To Tweet
3. A digital trail of Christmas joy
Create daily online Christmas announcements, scriptures, or event invitations until Christmas Day. Post them on your church’s Facebook page or other social media accounts and encourage them to repost on their own social sites. This sounds small, but it’s a simple, effective way to share a witness with hundreds of friends and acquaintances.
4. Starry, starry story
Plan a 30-minute public storytime for children. Recruit a member of your church who’s a great reader to dramatically read books about the real meaning of Christmas and the Bible story of the first Christmas. Gather a friendly volunteer crew of adults and kids to participate and welcome children and parents. Set up a comfortable, festive area in the church library, foyer, or worship area, with directional signs at each entrance. Advertise with outdoor banners, word of mouth, and social media. Each child leaves with a printed invitation to kids’ events at church and Sunday worship.
5. Church neighborhood poinsettia delivery
Purchase poinsettias in bulk and attach a note to each plant with a specific address near the church and a printed Christmas greeting note from the pastor. On Sunday, distribute one plant to each person or family who will deliver it to the assigned address, involving as many church members as possible. They deliver it ASAP, along with a smiling “Merry Christmas” greeting and a personal invitation to Christmas Day or Christmas Eve worship.
6. Christmas eve tradition
A study from Lifeway Research found 48% of protestant pastors say their most attended Christmas event is their Christmas Eve service. Will your church intentionally invite and embrace a crowd of guests on Christmas Eve? Submit a warmhearted story and photo to your local newspaper or online venues about a member of your church who makes your Christmas Eve service an annual tradition, and invite the community to attend. The service is brief and joyful with carols and candle lighting and points people to know the baby in the manger who became the Savior of the world.“As you celebrate His birth this Christmas, don’t forget to tell His story. ‘Tis the season to share the good news of Jesus.” — Diana Davis Click To Tweet
7. A Christmas tour
Is your church decorated beautifully for Christmas? Is there a nativity display or stained glass that tells the Christmas story? Perhaps you could offer a Christmas tour for the public, with a gregarious member as a tour guide, sharing the real meaning of Christmas and details about church activities, ministries, and how guests can become involved.
8. Merry mail carrier
Your church members are already spread across your town as they live, work, and play there. Why not engage in outreach throughout your community this Christmas? Pick a specific day and person and ask church members to each bless that person in their area. You may all bless your mail carrier on Monday, with a note or small gift of appreciation. Or all bless a fast-food drive-through attendant on Tuesday, a fireman, a teacher, the mayor, a store clerk, a police officer, your garbage collector, etc. Each action should include a note such as “Praying for God’s blessings,” or an invitation to Christmas Eve service.
9. Need a little Christmas
Make a comprehensive list of church members and acquaintances who are homebound or live in a care facility. Challenge individual church members and groups within the church to take one or two names and deliver a smidge of Christmas to their door. For example, this could be a Christmas card, Christmas carol, Christmas cupcake, Christmas flower, or a small, wrapped gift. Snap a photo with him or her, then print a copy and mail it to them with a Christmas note. Pray with them before you leave.
10. Pop-up carolers
This is a simple, short, and fun idea. First, recruit leaders who’ll each champion a unique pop-up caroling group during the Christmas season.
The leader determines the group’s makeup. Some groups will be “open” to anyone, but most will target a specific group. For example: newlyweds, college students, guys with real or fake beards, downtown workers, single adults, schoolteachers, senior adults, parents with kids, deacons and deacon wives, bicyclers (caroling on bikes), dads and kids, retirees, drummers, moms with strollers, sign language carolers, a Sunday School class, young couples, families, etc. There can be lots of groups— some small, some large. The leader selects a place in town that often has crowds of people—a downtown square, mall food court, park, city Christmas tree, busy street corner. The leader also determines the date and precise time to carol. It’s over quickly, so carolers must not be lost or late!
After determining the date, place, and type of group, the leader recruits as many carolers as possible. Participants arrive early, lingering about in ones or twos. At the appointed time and place, the leader begins singing and others immediately join in, singing and casually strolling toward the leader. One person holds a nice identifying sign, “A Christmas gift to you from Calvary Baptist Church” while carolers sing three or four carols and assigned non-carolers pass out a bookmark with church information to crowd members. Then as they begin “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” they joyfully wave and disseminate back into the crowd. It ends as surprisingly as it begins, leaving strangers humming about the birth of Jesus.
As you celebrate His birth this Christmas, don’t forget to tell His story. ‘Tis the season to share the good news of Jesus. It’s not too late for outreach this Christmas!
Diana is an author, columnist, and minister’s wife who lives in Pensacola FL. Reach her at FloriDiana333@gmail.com.
For permission to republish this article, please email Marissa Postell Sullivan.