Christmas is a traditional season for families and churches, but what can your church do this year to connect with people in your community?

Your family probably has traditional patterns every December. Decorating the tree. Making Christmas cookies. Family gift exchanges. Similarly, your church will lean into the traditions of the season as you welcome new guests to your building. Christmas carols, candles and the story of Jesus’ birth will likely be part of your Christmas Eve celebration, as they should be. 

Welcoming people from your community to your church for a traditional Christmas Eve service is such an important part of the season. Telling and celebrating the biblical story of Christ’s birth is essential. But I’d like to give you some additional ideas about how your church can love, serve and connect in your community this year for Christmas. 

First, let’s talk about three reasons why you should consider additional ideas during Christmas. 

  1. Christmas is a time when people are more open to the Church, creating more opportunity for connection.
  2. Some people will be less likely to attend a formal service, but might be open to other connection points with the Church during the Christmas season.
  3. We all get bogged down in the commercialism of the season. Providing opportunities for people to be generous or an encouragement to serve others is an important posture for the Church to take. 

My heart is not to add “one more thing” that your staff needs to own during a busy season. Anything extra you do as a church would need to directly align with your mission, vision and values, so that it energizes your people and propels your ministry forward. 

As you consider what ideas to pursue, here are three questions to keep in mind.

  1. How does this align with where our church is going?
  2. Does this create momentum and connection or deplete energy and create busyness?
  3. What is at stake if we don’t do it?

Answering those questions should give you a good idea of what types of events would be a good fit for your church. 

Buy and deliver gifts.

People really love giving gifts! Providing a way for people to be generous during Christmas is a huge gift to your congregation. Offering assistance to families who are struggling financially is a great act of love from the Church. But here’s a bonus idea—ask the person or family that provided the gift to deliver it to the family. Not only does that allow the recipient a chance to make a relational connection, but is a huge opportunity for the gift giver to grow as well!

Offer a Christmas experience.

Young families are all about providing experiences for their kids. Is there something you can provide for families that meets this need in your community? Some ideas include free family Christmas-themed pictures, a Christmas lights display, live nativity experience, or a Christmas movie night. No matter what experience you offer, use it as a chance to have conversations and connect with people. 

Host a Christmas craft show.

People love to shop for gifts and decorations leading up to Christmas. You can coordinate with local small businesses, artists and vendors to host a craft show at your church, or even somewhere in the community. This is a great way to connect with new people, provide a fun tradition for families and show that your church is for your community and the people that are part of it. 

Prompt serving opportunities.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always a busy time of travel and family time. It might not work to organize a large serving event, but you could prompt people to serve and connect with their neighbors during this time with some simple serving ideas. This helps people slow down and consider the needs of people around them while also providing ways to connect and develop relationships. Some ideas include making and delivering Christmas cookies and shoveling snow for the people on your street. 

No matter which idea is the best fit for your church, use this season as an opportunity to connect with people in your community. It will surely be one of your best chances to do so this year!

If you need any help, Fishhook is here to help you strategize, plan and communicate well.