Christmas is normally a great opportunity to invite friends and family to come to church. Well probably not this year. Yesterday church leaders met on zoom to look at other ways we can still share the message of hope. And between us we came up with quite a few which we thought were worth sharing. So here they are and we hope that you may be inspired to encourage your church to think a little bit outside the box.
Ideas for engaging with our communities
- Contact someone who is not a Christian and go for a walk, have a coffee and spend time together. Mobilising the church members to create time to respond to a real sense of loneliness in our communities, particularly if people can’t travel to see families.
- Christmas carolling around the town – building on the neighbourhood and community feeling from NHS clap, VE day etc. Encouraging and even organising local Christians to create socially distant carol services in their street or area. Flyer the area and encourage people to come to the edge of their property to sing together and hear a short message and/or literature, mulled wine (weather dependant – using gazebos, umbrellas, drive through etc).
- Roving nativity – have ‘characters’ socially distant walking down the street in a specific order. Put a script through the doors of the residents matching the order of the nativity walkers which the residents can read as the various parts of the nativity come past (weather dependant – using gazebos, umbrellas, drive through etc).
- Nativity on a lorry – similar to above. Carols, flyers/invitations/ literature etc.
- Faith in kids website – https://faithinkids.org/resources/app/topic/christmas a great resource lots of ideas, material, crafts to do at home for Christmas with risk assessments.
- Connecting up with local supermarkets who want to encourage a “Christmas feeling”, with car park services (See Faith in Kids above) and other ways to access a greater audience.
- Singing and playing in the street – a real push towards knowing our neighbours. We can use Christmas as a reason to spiritually share with our neighbours.
- A Christmas treasure-hunt. Painting pebbles for people/family groups to find with a part of the nativity scene on each, highlighting the real Christmas story and engaging with the estate.
- SU In Search of Christmas is a trail-based treasure hunt for children and families, using a series of videos to encourage conversation and help crack a code. Videos are accessed by scanning QR codes, as the groups explore the local area. . https://content.scriptureunion.org.uk/resource/in-search-of-christmas
- Christmas windows –creating windows of nativity scenes around the area which they track down. Doing the nativity scene to engage with the community in windows.
- Christmas crafts for families. Looking at engaging kids by providing “something to do” for parents and taking to people’s houses.
- Longest night service – creating a space for those who have lost family members this last year to grieve over Christmas. May need to be on-line this year.
- Sending personal Christmas cards to our contacts locally with an invite to the online services this Christmas and encouraging church members who send cards further afield to invite them too.
Ideas for encouraging our church fellowship:
- Christmas cards. Make an effort to give personalised cards with encouraging messages .
- Gifts. Going round the fellowship giving small gifts; little treats for people go a long way
- Online service involving as many from the congregation as possible (including children)
- Christian Advent calendars for everyone in church
- Zoom nativity – filmed in advance
- Children’s crafts, providing for families in the church
- Serving your community; encourage church people to be busy – anything we can do will help
- Join in with national/regional services:
- Graham Kendrick – Compassion free downloadable carol service (preview on TBN Sunday 6th Dec 8pm)
- South West carol service 5th & 6th Dec 7pm
- J John https://canonjjohn.com/christmas-2020/Carol singing in locality (restriction allowing)
Andrew Conlan is the Partnership Regional Coordinator for the South West of England who was part of organising the ‘Sharing Hope’ meeting.