You probably grow weary of the cliché, but it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Regardless of whether you think it is the most wonderful time of the year or not, the reality is Christmas is just around the corner. That means that your church’s celebration of Christmas is just around the corner, as well.
Over the next few weeks, churches of all sizes and settings will be celebrating the birth of Christ in a wide variety of ways. Your church may have an elaborate program or a simple celebration that features classic carols and children around a manger.
Every church will celebrate Christmas this year, and I want to challenge you to think about not only how you will celebrate but making the most of your celebration. There are a few simple things a church can do to make the most of Christmas this year.
First, make the church’s celebration of Christmas the best it can be. The programs and events our churches conduct deserve our best effort because they are ultimately an act of worship to the Lord. It may take a little more time and energy, but we should do everything we can to insure those events are our best. Don’t shy away from the traditional celebration of the season.
Christmas appears to be the one time of the year everyone likes traditional. Research has consistently shown that Christmas Eve is the one time of year that people who do not normally attend church are more likely to attend.
When they come, they expect to sing the classic carols and participate in a candlelight service. Our celebrations do not have to be elaborate or spectacular by the standards of our world but the giving of God’s one and only Son demands more than our half-hearted effort.
Second, make sure to publicize events and encourage the church to invite their friends and family members. Announcements in church publications and bulletins are a simple reminder for the congregation. The final aspect of the ReConnect 3×3 emphasis this year is a challenge to “Share the Gift” by inviting others to join us at church this Christmas. An insert for the bulletin to encourage people to invite others is available as a download from www.BGCO.org or from the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Sunday School office.
One of the greatest publicity tools for church events is social media. Facebook has become the largest advertising platform in the world. A boost on Facebook of your event will provide a concentrated effort at getting the word out in your community. It is relatively inexpensive and has the ability to target specific zip codes that provide the best way to reach those in the community around your church with the information.
Third, make sure to register people at events. People have been encouraged to invite guests, and we need to gather their contact information to follow up with them.
When it comes to information, less is typically more. If we can get a name, email address or phone number, at the minimum, we can contact them. I recently heard of a church that used a creative way to encourage more people to register at an event. They announced they were going to donate $1 for every card received to a local ministry they partnered with to serve the needs of their community. More than 90 percent of the people who attended registered that day.
If you ask people for information, please follow up with them when they provide it. The Christmas season provides a great opportunity to connect with people who are great prospects for the church.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure that your Christmas events have a clear Gospel presentation in them. We need to make sure that as we recount the story of Christ’s birth that we tell people why He came. A clear, simple Gospel presentation should be a key part of every celebration. I’m praying that Oklahoma Baptists have a Merry Christmas and productive one as we share the Good News this year.