Christmas is the easiest invite for your congregation members to invite their family and friends to so make sure you make it as easy as possible for them!
Here's your simple checklist to make sure your church is as prepared as possible to welcome new people this Christmas:
1. Get your Christmas advertising sorted
It's important that you advertise your services and events - otherwise people are not going to come! Unfortunately these days you need to tell people about events about a million times and shout louder (and look more interesting) than everything else out there. Having a consistent theme, look and correct information across all of your platforms is a great way to cut through the crowd. This goes from announcing at the front of church, your website and social media, outdoor signage, printed invites and anything else you might want to add. Make sure it looks good and is consistent, and you're one step closer to having people join you for your events and services!
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2. Update your church website and social media
Churches are notorious for forgetting about their church websites (have you seen this Babylon Bee article?). It's 2019, you simply can not get away with this anymore! A website (closely followed by social media) is a main gateway for outsiders to consider coming to your church. So, what does your church's website say about you?
It doesn't have to be flash, it just needs to be simple, clear and have all the correct information! If you have your Christmas advertising all sorted, make sure you use consistent images and correct information across the board so people feel confident they know what's going on, and can get excited about joining in.
3. Ready your people
Over and again we see that nothing beats the personal invite. The people in your pews (or comfortable, modern seating) are the ones who are going to do the work in bringing non-believers in. Your job is to equip them. Are they excited about the thought of newcomers coming along this Christmas? Do they have all the correct information (and maybe even a printed invite) to offer their family, friends, neighbours, school/work community?
Build up momentum each week in the lead up to Christmas, reminding your people that this is a fantastic opportunity to invite non-believers to come and hear the truth about our saviour Jesus!
4. Plan your Christmas services as if it's Grand Final Sunday!
Whatever sport you watch/play, Grand Final events are big. Everything is leading up to this and excitement is palpable. My husband (a Pastor and Evangelist himself) thinks every Sunday in church should be Grand Final Sunday as you anticipate new people who may be coming to hear the Gospel for the very first time. But I'm going to say that if you're not doing it already, Christmas is a great place to start to make sure everything is spot on.
Are your Welcome Team ready to go and know all they need to know to direct new families to kids church, to offer a big and friendly smile to everyone who walks in, to spot the new person and connect them to someone who they could talk to?
Is the kids' program ready and the team energised to welcome new families and help them have a great time?
Is your Christmas sermon a clear, engaging gospel presentation (not the same one you've been using since 1998 - unless that one really is amazing)?
Is your church tidy? Look, decorations are great and I encourage you decorate to your heart's content, but just making sure it's comfortable, clean, bright and a pleasure to walk into is absolutely key. Consider putting some music on and make sure your band's stopped rehearsing by the time people have arrived to create a comfortable vibe to walk into.
Is the band rehearsing well in advance and growing in confidence so your Christmas carols are as best as they possible can be on the day? Are you (or do you have someone) selecting songs that tie in well?
Chances are, you're already doing all of these things but I want to encourage you to continue! Christmas might be the time one of your congregation members finally gets to bring their friend who they've been praying for for years and who has finally said yes. Give your congregation member confidence that their friend will hear the gospel preached clearly, meet christians and not be embarrassed (so they'll keep inviting people!).
And perhaps most importantly, have a follow-up plan.
If you do have new people come and join you this Christmas, what next? Don't lose them after all your hard work this far!
Make sure you have a form of Welcome/Connect Card and encourage people to fill them in! Take time out during the service and encourage everyone to fill one in so newcomers don't feel awkward and equip your Welcome Team to encourage people to fill them out so you have people's details to contact them in future.
Consider having an evangelistic course running soon after your Christmas services that people can sign up to or a sermon series to spark people's interest to come back and encourage your people to continue inviting.
Christmas is just their first step. They've heard the Gospel now, so what next? Pray that they might continue to return and do everything you can to give them the opportunity to repent, believe and be saved through our Lord Jesus.