Community events have a huge potential for growing your church and Christmas is just about the biggest opportunity of the year. Besides Easter, there is no other time of year that people are more receptive to attending church services or events.
In 2015, Lifeway Research conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans and found that 6 out of 10 people typically attend church during the Christmas season. However, of those who indicated that they didn’t attend church around the holidays, 57% said they would if someone were to personally invite them.
With that many people walking into churches each December, how do we make the most of the season?
Here are four things we keep in mind when planning our outreach events.
No. 1 Think from the unchurched’s perspective.
Why have a private service when you have the ability to impact so many more people than those that sit within your sanctuary every week? Open your celebration to the community and create an event that no one will want to miss.
With Christmas right around the corner, think about seasonal activities that families can partake in together such as skating, sleigh rides, or arts and crafts. Experiment with using a facility off site that may be more comfortable for newcomers. Craft an event with such excellence that people want to learn more about your church.
Especially around the holidays, people are drawn to tradition. They want something that they can come back to year after year, something that will become a staple in their holiday season. Consider this when creating your event. Is this something people in your community are going to want to experience again? Is it something people are going to want to consistently invite to? You want people thinking about your church when they think about Christmas.
No. 2 Make it shareable.
Remember the stat I mentioned earlier? 57% of people who said they wouldn’t plan to go to church at Christmastime would if they were invited. We need to make it easy for people to invite, invite, invite!
Use tools such as invite cards and social media posts to get people spreading the word. Nothing is more effective than a personal invite so encourage people to use whatever means you have provided. Get your congregation so excited about it that they can’t help but invite their friends and family. This is their opportunity to share church with people who may not otherwise come.
No. 3 Sell free tickets.
Why ticket an event if it’s free? Well, tickets are helpful for three reasons:
- They create more commitment in people to actually attend.
- They help give an estimate of how many will be coming.
- They allow you to gather contact information for follow-up.
Let’s focus on C. here. Now that you have collected some form of contact information, you are able to follow-up with those that attended the event and also reach out to them for future events. It creates a database of information that keeps you connected to people that otherwise would not have attended your church.
No. 4 Invite attendees back to a Sunday service.
What are we hosting these events for if not to point people back to Jesus? Take an opportunity at the end of the event, or through email in the following days, to invite people to your Sunday services. If you are hosting a holiday event early December, invite them to your Christmas Eve services, or try tying the invite to the start of a new series. Leave them wanting more of what they just experienced and interested in learning more about your church.