Simple ideas for engaging with families this Christmas
We know that there can be constraints on what churches and church congregations feel they can offer to Children, Youth and Families especially if there aren’t any or relatively few who already come to the church, but there are many ways that your church can offer a warm welcome to Children, Youth and Families whatever your circumstances.
Whether growing an existing ministry and considering organising an event, or looking for ways to invite Children, Youth and Families and welcome them to the church for the first time, the key is to start by building good relationships. Develop a culture of relationships leading to invitations.
It doesn’t have to start with grand gestures or events, although these can be great too, but simple, thoughtful acts that help those in the current church congregation connect with the local community and demonstrate that the church is a place for all.
Gone are the days when you could off er an invite and expect people to turn up, in today’s culture it is very much that we have to do as Jesus instructed and ‘Go into all the world’.
- Take your Christingle or carol service outside, or to a local residential home
- Organise a short holiday club day for children so carers can go Christmas Shopping
- Organise a charity collection such as a shoe box appeal – ask people to bring items and get together to package them up
- Run a Christmas wreath making day – get your congregation to invite friends and bring them along with lots of greenery. Make it a real event with Christmas music and festive food
- Run a ‘swap party’ after Christmas for people to bring unwanted gifts – give anything left over to charity
- Messy Christmas event – make a gift to give to a neighbour, make Christmas decorations that depict aspects of the Christmas story
- Organise a local window trail. Place items or pictures in local shop windows, residences, etc. Provide a trail card for families to collect all the locations and invite them to a seasonal event to receive a prize for completing the trail
- Make your church porch a welcoming place for teenagers to come and sit. No one likes to sit out in bad weather and teenagers meeting their friends need a place to go, so why not welcome them to use your church porch even if the church is closed?
- Make a village Advent calendar, or buy ‘The Real Advent Calendar’ for children in your street http://shop.meaningfulchocolate.co.uk/product_p/realad2016case.htm
- Set up a babysitting club and plan a ‘Date Night’ so local couples can go out together – use this as a way of finding people who could be invited to a parenting course
- Run a Christmas or New Year Party.
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