A 2017 Pew study stated that more than half of adults in American plan to attend a worship service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Christmas holds a unique place in American culture as a widely accepted religious holiday. This presents an opportunity for you and your church. Here are five suggestions to help you prepare for those that will attend your services in hopes that they may return throughout the coming year.
We have prepared a simple Christmas video for you to share and re-publish. Use this to empower your members to invite others through social media. Create social media posts and events with times and locations so that members can share service details. Printed material still works too! Place these in bulletins in weeks prior to Christmas, encouraging members during announcements to hand these out to others. A simple printed flier or invitation with service details for members to pass out to neighbors, loved ones and friends can have a significant impact on Christmas service attendance.
The doors that open into your narthex or nave are not the first set of “doors” potential visitors will open. That metaphorical door is your website and social media properties. Make sure that your meeting location, service times for regular Sunday worship as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas day are easily viewed before scrolling. Ensure that your COVID-19 protocols are easily accessible as well so that attendees come prepared. If you have a marketing budget, Facebook and Google ads are inexpensive for the return they can provide. Read our Christmas Invitation Video post for details on setting up ads for your Christmas services.
Ensure that ushers and greeters are prepared to warmly welcome guests who may not be familiar with your traditions. Navigating bulletins, prayer books and hymnals for the first time can be intimidating and distracting. Keep it as simple as possible. Make sure regular attendees are prepared to kindly assist if they see someone struggling or unsure of how to participate. Arrange for your narthex to be uncluttered, bathrooms clean, children’s areas safe, and for guests to find where they need to go with ease.
Take advantage of your guests’ presence to collect contact information from those willing to share it. Be prepared to invite them to another upcoming special event during the announcements. You might even let attendees know when the next confirmation or membership course is. Whether a guestbook or cards in pew backs, be ready to collect your guests’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Make sure you ask for permission to add them to mailing lists or e-newsletters. In any case, a guest who does provide you contact information does assume you will be following up. After the new year, thank them for attending and invite them back by phone, email, or mail
Christmas season can be a heart-warming time for many and heart-wrenching for others. Start praying for your guests now. Pray for those experiencing loss and those experiencing joy; that all may encounter Christ’s presence during this season.
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