According to Pew Research, Christmas is the second most popular time for people to be searching out a church. That means that your church has a nearly unparalleled opportunity to reach your community during the holiday season – so Christmas church outreach is very important.
Churches tend to fall into two categories: churches with longstanding traditions that have grown stale and ineffective… and churches that used to have traditions, but they quit them because people stopped showing up (or they were a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic).
Very few churches look to innovate during the Christmas season–or at least iterate on past traditions–in order to reach the community and share the good news about Jesus. In this article, we’ll explore six key questions you should be asking in order to implement creative Christmas outreach ideas. To jumpstart your planning and brainstorming, download our resource 10 Christmas Church Outreach Ideas. Use them as inspiration, and develop your own ideas. Let us know in the comments how your church is finding new ways to share about Jesus during the Christmas season.
There are six key questions your church should be asking as you plan and innovate for a creative Christmas outreach at your church. We’ll explore each question in detail below.
Question 1: Who should we prayerfully reach out to this Christmas?
I’m not a huge fan of the terminology “target audience” or “avatar.” These terms get thrown around in business, and your church is not a business. At the same time, it’s important to truly understand your “Jerusalem.” Who are you trying to reach with the gospel? What are they like? What are their life rhythms? Which kinds of events would meet their needs or catch their attention? It’s important to sit down and be sure you truly understand who you prayerfully want to reach for Christmas outreach.
Question 2: What can we do differently to reach our Jerusalem?
Doing the same things, the same way, year-after-year is unlikely to give you different results. Change for the sake of change is not beneficial. But if your past Christmas events have not yielded evangelistic fruit in years, you shouldn’t assume that the results will be different unless you make key changes. Start by evaluating why your past outreach events have not reached new people. Was there poor follow-up? Were they hosted at a bad time? Was the event boring or poorly communicated? Understand the needs of your community and try to identify the gap between your past events and the current needs of the community.
Question 3: Where can our facility be optimized for outreach?
Is your church fully leveraging your campus and facility for outreach? Most churches have a plethora of Christmas decorations -but are you fully utilizing your space for your outreach event. What can you do differently with your location to make an impact?
Question 4: When should you host your event to optimize for outreach?
Many churches are committed to hosting a Christmas Eve service because of their liturgy or tradition. But the truth is that most families are busy on Christmas Eve. They have family obligations, special meals, and kids need to get in bed at a reasonable hour. In the past, families incorporated a church service into their own family traditions. But in many places, this isn’t the case anymore. It’s reasonable to ask if your church should pick a new time to meet. If your own congregation largely doesn’t attend on Christmas Eve and if the community doesn’t show up either… who is the Christmas Eve service really for? Select a time to host your event that reaches as many people as possible.
Question 5: Why would someone in the community show up to your Christmas church outreach event?
This question sounds harsh, but it’s a critical question! Put another way… if you didn’t have to attend your church’s outreach event, would you? People have busy lives, but they’ll make space for things that they find interesting or matter to them. Therefore, be sure that the Christmas outreach event you plan is worth the effort of showing up for.
Question 6: How will we follow-up and build relationships with people who attend?
One of the greatest mistakes churches make is failing to follow up with newcomers. It’s not enough to get people in the door. You need to build a relationship! Be certain you’ve planned out how you’ll continue the relationship with a guest long after they leave your Christmas outreach event–and be faithful to follow through.
Don’t forget to download our free resource: 10 Christmas Outreach Ideas
It’s not too late to plan on making next year the best year ever at your church. Connect with a TMG Guide today to talk about how our Strategic Envisioning process can transform your ministry into greater disciple-makers.
Scott Ball is the Vice President and a Lead Guide with The Malphurs Group. He lives in East Tennessee with his wife and two children. (Email Scott).