Christmas is such a busy time that many church goers don’t always stick around after the Christmas Day service. It’s understandable, especially if you have family and friends coming round for lunch and there’s a meal to be prepared.
But Christmas Day can also be a busy one for churches; congregations often have visitors who want to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with their local church. This is a great time to welcome newcomers and to share church life. This edition, Revive has put together some tips for how to effectively engage with Christmas Day visitors at your congregation.
- In most congregations, the minister and/or leadership team spend time in prayer before leading the service. This is actually a great time to be welcoming people as they arrive! Why not do these prayers in advance, before people begin to arrive? That way there is time for leaders to personally welcome people at the door. If for some reason worship leaders are unable to do this, make sure there are ‘greeters’ rostered on who can do the role. If any new people turn-up, these greeters can let the worship leaders know who they are so they can personally introduce themselves to visitors before the service.
- In an effort to be welcoming, some churches will make a point of introducing new visitors during the service, even sometimes asking them to stand. Be careful here; some people love this kind of attention, but others will hate it. When you welcome guests at the door, ask them if they would like to be acknowledged during the service or if they’d rather not be, and adjust your welcome accordingly.
- Creating a welcoming environment after the service is just as important as before it. While it’s natural to want to catch-up with friends, this is when newcomers can really feel left out. Have some people rostered to be committed to spending the time immediately after the service to talk to new guests. Make sure they know where to get a cuppa and some food from, ask them about their plans for Christmas and get to know them a little. Having people rostered to this role means visitors are never left standing around with no-one to talk to.
- Setting up a welcome booth is a great way for visitors to find out more information about your church. By having a table with some newsletters, flyers and maybe even a few copies of Revive, visitors can see all the activities on offer. If there are some people sitting at the booth, they will be able to answer questions and easily be able to strike up some conversation about what they might be looking for from a church.
- Not everyone has a place to happily celebrate Christmas Day; some might have even turned up at church because they are lonely over Christmas. Lots of people live away from their families, too far to travel for Christmas Day. Arranging a number of people from the congregation to be available to welcome new guests to their house for Christmas lunch or dinner is a great way to share hospitality and to ensure that people know they don’t need to go home to an empty house.