The Christmas season offers a natural bridge to the message of Christ’s love and the gift that He offers us – His forgiveness. Perhaps because of traditions, some people only go to church on Christmas or Easter.
Even though the worldly aspects of the season can distract us from the real reason for the season, here are 12 suggestions for helping you reach out to those who don’t know Jesus by inviting them to worship Him.
- Mark the season using an advent calendar. Open one door a day and prepare your heart for worship. Begin praying for friends and neighbors who don’t know Christ.
- Ask your friend, neighbor or family member to an outreach event at your church, such as a Christmas drama or musical.
“One of the things that we have done is try to use some of the outreach events at our church as an opportunity to invite people to our home – have dinner before or dessert afterward,” says Scott Pearson, who serves with Priority Associates, a ministry of Cru, in Jacksonville, Fla.
- Host a Christmas Gathering; an outreach idea to have friends and neighbors over for a party with an eternal purpose. The event features holiday food, chatting about Christmas traditions, a brief talk on the meaning of Christmas and an opportunity to receive Christ. Visit Christmas Gatherings for all the how-tos, including training videos.
- Initiate spiritual conversations. Cru staff members and college students tried out a new idea at five of the winter conferences last year. Instead of neighborhood outreaches, 750 conference attendees contacted almost 8,000 friends and acquaintances via Facebook and other social media. As a result, the group had more than 1,000 spiritual conversations.
- Help elderly neighbors by putting up their Christmas lights, taking them shopping or shoveling snow from their walk.
- Feed the hungry by volunteering in a soup kitchen, a local rescue mission, or by delivering meals to shut-ins. You and your fellow church members can box up food items and join with Here’s Life Inner City to distribute them.
- Contribute clothes to the poor such as socks, hats, winter coats and blankets through clothing drives.
- Give care packages to military personnel that are from your church, or prepare them for college students headed back to school after Christmas break.
Steve Lord is a retired Air Force veteran who was deployed to Kuwait in 2004. He remembers receiving care packages and Christmas cards from back home. “They had words of encouragement in them letting us know they were praying for us,” reminisces Steve, who now is an associate staff member with Cru’s Military Ministry in San Antonio, Texas.
“Just getting a handwritten note from home was one of the things I enjoyed,” says Steve. “It made me feel closer to home. It made me think of my family and my children.”
- Buy Christmas gifts for a needy family, for children at a local children’s home, for those who have a parent in prison, or for a child overseas through Operation Christmas Child.
- Send Christmas cards that are all about Jesus, not Christmas commercialism.
- Visit nursing homes with a group and sing Christmas carols to the patients and help them worship God.
- Show your children’s Sunday school class, The Story of Jesus for Children film and invite them to place their faith in Jesus. To order, visit Jesusfilmstore.com.
Pick a few of these ideas and ask God to help you reach someone new this year. Keep praying for them all year round.
“You should be laying the groundwork through out the year, getting to know your neighbors so that it’s not out of the blue,” Scott reminds us. “We spend a lot of time out in our front yard regularly interacting with our neighbors.”
The Christmas season offers the opportunity to talk about spiritual things as a natural part of the conversation. You’ll have more than 12 days, but spend your time wisely during the hustle and bustle of December by investing in others who don’t know Jesus. The greatest gift anyone could ever receive is knowing Jesus and accepting the forgiveness and eternal life He offers.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.