Christmas seems to come sooner and sooner each year. Most retailers are displaying and selling Christmas merchandise in the middle of October, some before the end of September. Radio stations begin playing Christmas music in the middle of November. My daughters begin talking about Christmas in March. Facebook memes will typically come out on December 26 touting 364 days until Christmas. While some people get quite annoyed at the early nature of Christmas, others welcome it. Regardless of how you feel about it, as church leaders we can embrace the Christmas season as a time when our church outreach efforts can bear much fruit, particularly during a Christmas Eve service.
As church leaders we understand is that Christmas Eve is the most likely church service to be attended by unchurched people. This makes Christmas Eve a great opportunity to be on the mission of God and to do evangelism.
Here are five ways to make Christmas Eve a strong outreach:
- Do something for the kids. It does not matter how grisly, and mean a person may seem, they all love kids. The other thing is that on Christmas, parents more than anything want their children to have a great experience. Have a special gift for the children as they arrive. This does not have to be expensive something as simple as a ruler (with your church name on it), or a small toy like you would get in a kid's meal at a fast food restaurant. Make sure that whatever you give the children points them and their parents back to your church.
- Do not do the Lord's supper. I know it is a great tradition to do the Lord's supper on Christmas Eve. It is one thing I, along with many others, have cherished through the years. We believe the Lord's supper is only for believers. When we turn around on Christmas Eve and make this big explanation about how only believers, or church members can take the supper, we have taken a major part of the service and made it at best irrelevant to the unchurched, or worse, offensive to them.
- Take the music up a notch and do not be afraid to do some traditional Christmas music. Whatever you can do to make the music on Christmas eve a little better will pay dividends in the future. Hire some musicians for that night, perhaps even someone who is locally well-known. Do not be afraid to do some fun Christmas songs such as "Jingle Bells" along with the slower more classic numbers such as "Silent Night".
- Keep the message, short and to the point while sharing the Gospel in a very clear manner. This is probably not the night to do an exegesis on the book of Leviticus, this is probably a time to tell about Jesus' love, about His grace and about how He wants to change the hearts and lives of people.
- Have candles. It is what is expected on Christmas Eve, it can be a very meaningful time of the service and it can be a great way to share the Gospel powerfully reflecting on Christ's light shining in the world.
Please comment below, we would love to hear what you have done to make Christmas Eve Special for your community.