Do you think much about Christmas and outreaching?
Christmas is a great time to touch base in many different ways with the community, current members and people who are on the fringe of the congregation. However one thing is certain is that if we are to use this opportunity to bring God's good news into people's lives for the long term, we need to be intentional and authentic. Christmas outreach takes time and planning this is why i have posted this now.
Recently i was having coffee with another pastor who indicated that this year his congregations are going to reduce the number of traditional Christmas carols in their Christmas services (or at least try to play them in a contemporary style), simply because people who visit the congregation once or twice a year (like Christmas, Easter and funerals) get the wrong idea of what church is like. Think about it, if you only visited a church at Christmas and heard only traditional Christmas carols, then your impression of church is that it plays that classical music all the time. (if your congregation does play traditional classical music only then this is of course is not an issue but this is not the case with his congregations). This also lead us thinking to how can outreach be authentic and reflect who the congregation is or is intending to be as we celebrated and share the Christmas message...
Following are some ideas and suggestions, many have been tried and tested:
12 mistakes of Christmas Outreach http://12mistakes.info/
Mistake # 1 --Not planning for something great.
Mistake # 2 --Doing little or nothing during Christmas.
Mistake # 3 --Planning without a plan..
Mistake # 4 --Breaking the Law of Large Numbers.
Mistake # 5 --Trying to do too much.
Mistake # 6 --Sending a Christmas message.
Mistake # 7 --Always trying something new.
Mistake # 8 --Doing Outreach instead of Withreach.
Mistake # 9 --Not making Christmas children-centered enough.
Mistake #10 -Communicating a heart-less message.
Mistake #11 -Choosing costly options.
Mistake #12 -Not connecting Christmas with Easter.
Christmas Pantomime....this is ideal for small unpredictable attending congregations. It is a way of having a nativity play and to tell the Christmas story involving the entire congregation and with a bit of fun. Last year we incorporated it throughout the worship service. For a copy please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why not have a float in the town Christmas Parade...last year one family joined us and many others received a seed of the good news as a result of us simply having a float in the Christmas Parade...Now often there is a temptation for people to join with other churches and have one big float (good idea if you want people to know all the churches are united and nothing else)...but think about this..... how does Jo Blow find 'Churches of whatevertown' which is usually the banner churches go in the parade under...wouldn't it be better for the churches to have a number of floats in the Christmas parade and therefore reinforce the message at various parts throughout the parade, and also help people see the Christmas message from a number of perspectives.
Christmas tree decorating contest/display....or nativity scene display. There are many different variations of this but it is one way to reach people who are interested in the frills of Christmas and help them connect the frills of Christmas with the message of Christmas.
Lutheran Church of Australia Christmas resources, especially dramas...http://www.lca.org.au/search/reslib/searchreskeywords.cfm?pcriteria=Christmas
Elca Delaware and Maryland district evangelism and outreach opportunities for Christmas
elca drama....check out the advent/Christmas drama http://www.elca.org/evangelism/congregations/evangelismdramas.html
Matthias media from Christmas ideas http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/chn/archives/000718.php
Online advent devotions http://www.adventdevotions.com/ will be online on 15 October
A Christmas Bible Study 5 parts powerpoints and notes available free online http://www.texasmmf.org/CmasBblStdy.htm
Christmas Outreach ideas from The coaching centre http://www.gocampus.org/modx/index.php?id=70
Christmas ideas from Ross Road Community Church http://www.rossroadcc.ca/2006/uploadedResources/Evangelism%20Ideas%20at%20Christmas2.pdf
Jingle bells and beyond article from Outreach magazine http://www.outreachmagazine.com/library/features/02winterftrjingle.asp
People ablaze ideas http://www.peopleablaze.com/Index.asp?PageID=6989
Christmas ideas for the sad and lonely http://www.outreachmagazine.com/library/ideas/05novdecideaslovepractically.asp
I am sure you have other ideas....please either place them in the comments or email them to me so i can add them to the blog
added Oct 4th
Friendship Advent and Christmas Days http://www.elca.org/evangelizingchurch/congregations/friendshipchristmas.html
Christmas in cyberspace available at http://www.christmasincyberspace.com/ a comprehensive Christian Christmas site with information and links to:Their favorite sites, Christmas History, a Christmas Blog, Advent information, The Nativity Story information, The Magi information, Advent Devotions, Christmas Preaching, Christmas Worship, Music, Christmas Drama, Advent Calendars, Christian Christmas ECards and more
How to make the most of Christmas for evangelism. Some more suggestions can be found at: http://www.palau.org/lpea/resources/holiday_witness.php