Christmas outreach is not only a time for your to bring in new people to your church, but it can also be a time to remind your congregation about the importance of sharing their faith and an opportunity to give them the tools to do it. Following are six communication strategies that will help:
1. Spend time in prayer asking God to impress on your heart the seriousness and the privilege of your communication opportunities at Christmas.
People who don't come to church any other time of the year will come to Christmas events to be with family. This might be your one opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus with them. Far beyond giving people a pleasant Christmas experience in music, drama, traditional services, or watching the cute things children do, their eternal destiny can be altered.
In addition to your personal convictions, pray for fire in your soul as you motivate your people to be part of your church Christmas communication outreach. Remind them that Jesus is the reason for the season, not because we needed a reason to buy stuff, but because we needed salvation from our sins. What prophets and people anticipated for millennia, as they looked forward to the Messiah, we must be careful not to trivialize.
2. Based on your time with the Lord, as a ministry team, decide what you want your Christmas communication message to be.
Come up with one overall theme and a slogan that summarizes it. This is key because you want all of your advertising, publications, and preaching to reflect that one theme. You will change the medium that you use, but your core message must stay the same for maximum retention and response.
Where to get a theme? One of the best places for inspiration is from the lyrics of Christmas Carols. Here is an article that lists the carols in the Public Domain along with some ideas on how to use them: https://www.effectivechurchcom.com/christmas-carols-as-inspiration-for-christmas-outreach-sermons-website-content/
3. Select graphics, colors, images to portray that theme and use them consistently throughout all your advertisements.
Along with the theme, select a primary graphic image and colors that you will use in all your holiday outreach. I emphasize the word "all" because churches often want to change colors or images they use to promote events.
They do this because a common misconception is: “If I keep saying things the same way, my audience will get bored.” Wrong. Audiences don’t get bored, audiences get confused. Great advertising campaigns always keep a core message the same for a lengthy period for it to have impact. Think about the “Got Milk?” or "Just do it!" or any other marketing campaign that is successful for illustrations of this.
The most successful companies in the world have an image that never changes—think Target or Apple—you immediately know what their logo looks like. On a smaller scale, if you continuously change the image that goes with your Christmas theme, people will see the image first and assume it's for a different event.
You may get bored using the same image again and again, but it's better that you get bored than your audience becomes confused.
4. Decide on a variety of ways to communicate your message; use and repeat as many as you can.
We live in a time of multi-channel communication where we need to use different communication channels to reach different age and interest groups. Communicate your message through postcards, bulletin announcements and inserts, invitations, web page entries, email blasts, verbal reminders, phone calls, social media, Facebook, Twitter, whatever you can as many times as you can.
5. Once you have the overall approach and the communication pieces, equip your congregation
For any church holiday outreach to be successful, every person in the congregation has to be convinced that THEY need to be the ones inviting their friends, praying for them and working hard to get them to Christmas events at church. Remember the primary responsibility of church leaders and communication creators is not to bring in new people to the church; your job is to equip the saints so they can do the work of the ministry. You decide the theme; you create the communications; then you equip your congregation to do the inviting.
Not only is this the best way to get a large group of people to your events this way, but even more important, your people will grow in their outreach skills if they take part in it. If the church buys the entire process of outreach advertising and inviting, outreach becomes something the church purchases, not a personal responsibility.
Instead, if you have preached about the eternal importance of Christmas, reminded your people of Christ's commands to share their faith, created tools such as, postcards, door-hangers, invitation cards, and digital invitations for church members, and then challenged them to pray for and invite their friends, Christmas outreach becomes the responsibility of the entire church.
6. Share your personal convictions and outreach plans.
Share from the pulpit, blogs, Facebook and tweets, messages like this:
- “As I look ahead to Christmas, I remember what it was like before I knew the Lord— my brother's invitation for me to come on Christmas Eve changed my life.”
- "I'm praying for Peter, the barista at my local Starbucks and an opportunity to invite him to church."
- "My kids are sharing invitations to our Christmas Eve service to their friends along with cookies they made."
- "My relatives back home don't know Jesus—so I'm sending some links to our blogs about why Jesus really is the reason for the season."
Share with your congregation who you are praying for, how you give out or send out invitations, how you follow-up to be sure people attend. Never, ever expect your congregation to do more than what you are doing.
There will always be more you can do, but if you try these six strategies, you'll be sure to increase the committed involved members in your congregation who will not only bring friends to your Christmas outreach events, but who will learn how to do personal evangelism in the process.
For many more ideas on how to effectively communicate at Christmas, for ready-to-print templates, and PDFs, of Christmas outreach materials, go to: