This is part 3 of the series, “Is it too early to start planning for Christmas? Or is it too late.” Feel free to start here. Or, go back to the beginning of the series.
In my last post, I wrote about some of the pre-planning your church needs to do right now to be ready for Christmas Eve. Now that you are getting things set, it is time to start thinking about inviting people.
Since Christmas Eve is the service most attended by unchurched folks, it is also the best time to invite new people. People who wouldn’t normally accept an invitation to church might accept an invitation to church on Christmas Eve.
1. Prepare invitation resources
If you want your people to invite their friends and neighbors, provide them something to hand out. Print up invitation cards with service times, directions, and your church website address and give them to your members. You may also want to think about ordering some door hangers and signage. To pull it all together, it would be great to have some matching graphics to use on your website and social media. Although you still have time to do the actual inviting, now is the time to get the resources ready.
You don’t need to start from scratch. United Methodist Communications in cooperation with Outreach.com has a number of pre-made resources. Check them out http://www.umcom.org/rethink-church/rethink-church-advent-outreach-resources
Watch for my supplemental post “Using the UMCOM/Outreach.com resources to promote Christmas Eve at Your Church.” These are great resources but I found the process of getting everything you need a little confusing so I am going to walk you through the process.
Start getting people ready to invite
Once you have those invitations ready, don’t just hand them out. Explain what you want people to do with them. Talk about who they might invite and give them some words to use. If you are planning on hanging door hangers, start planning for that now. You can enlist Sunday School classes or small groups. Or, you can plan some neighborhood walks and ask people to sign up.
Back them up with social media and signage
If you use the resources from UMCOM and Outreach.com, you will have everything you need to promote your services on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, wherever you are on Social Media. Again, keep a lookout for my supplemental post “Using the UMCOM/Outreach.com resources to promote Christmas Eve at Your Church.” where I will discuss how to take advantage of those resources.
Purchasing some matching external and internal signage will help people know they are at the right place. It will also tie everything together to make for a more impactful experience for your first-time guests. You can even download the artwork for matching bulletin covers. Never underestimate the power of coordinated branding. No one will ever say, “It was really nice that my bulletin looked just like my door hanger.” However, there is an unspoken message about the quality of your church and it shows that you really care about welcoming new people.
In my next post, I will discuss the next phase: prepare. There are some things you are going to need to think about to be ready for all those extra guests on Christmas Eve.