7 Creative Outreach Tactics to Grow Your Church This Holiday Season
Thanksgiving and Christmas are great opportunities for your church to engage with the wider neighborhood. People are more open to a conversation about Christianity and are more welcoming of invitations from their family and friends for parties, events, and philanthropic activities.
But outreach events won’t be effective at helping to reach and retain newcomers to your church without the following:
The Foundations for Growth
A Plan: Your church is about to hold very visible events that people will remember for a long time. Plan them well to work out the kinks so you hold excellent, compelling events.
Promotion: Use popular communications channels to get the word out about your events as early and as often as possible.
Call to action: The most important: For each event, have a clear action you want people to take. Spoiler: Most churches call people to attend a weekend service as a clear next step. This element is crucial to help give people logical next steps and nurture them toward a deeper sense of belonging with your church.
1. Scavenger Hunt
Host a scavenger hunt at a local park where staff and volunteers hide gifts for locals children and pre-teens. Tap into the generosity for your members for gift and food donations if possible and make sure to bring extra gifts in case some kids don’t find anything! This is a great way to engage and invite young families into fellowship with your church.
2. Distribute Care Packages
Have your members and staff distribute care packages to the homeless. Ask advocates at your local shelter to join you to help connect these recipients with the care they need. What better way to reflect Jesus to the community while connecting those in need to your church?
3. Christmas in the park
Book a popular local park early and host a Christmas service for the public. Make it as big or as small as you’d like, but make sure you plan it well so it goes off without a hitch and reflects well on your church. Curate your worship music, promote it in the community and on social media, and get a compelling sermon ready. This gives people the chance to casually wander into your church and hear the beautiful message of Christ without feeling like they went to church. Don’t pick up an offering if possible—just end by inviting people to seek Jesus more and visit your church to learn more.
4. Host a holiday bazaar
Make an early call for local vendors and volunteers and clear your sanctuary and/or parking lot. Many cities have Facebook groups for local vendors looking for places to sell, so join a few and let people know you’re hosting a bazaar. Have your staff onsite to assist shoppers and answer questions people may have about your church and its mission.
5. Rent a Local Rink
Bring people together for fun, ice skating, and great music by renting out a local rink the weekend before Christmas. Talk to the DJ to make sure you can make periodic announcements about your upcoming Christmas service and have staff onsite to hand out candy canes and information about your church.
6. Good Neighbor Rides
Christmas parties will be happening across your city this year. Sponsor safe rides home every weekend for a few weeks to ensure people have safe rides home. Try a ride-sharing service like Uber that allows organizations to cover rides for others using vouchers.
7. Christmas Tree Drive
Most families have a fake tree lying around—or three. Have a Christmas tree drive and ask people to donate fake or real trees and nominate a member of the community who might want but can’t afford one. Contact the nominees ahead of time to ask if they’d like the gift of a Christmas tree. If yes, deliver it with decorations, a card from the church, and some baked goods to let them know they’re loved and being prayed for.
Bonus: Hold an amazing church service.
Not all Christmas services are created equal, nor do they all engage the community, convict newcomers, and effectively encourage them to return. Hold a service that’s better and more excellent than you have in past years. Check out this free resource, How to Prepare for Your Best Christmas Yet—checklist and guide for a step-by-step planning guide to help you prepare your most impactful Christmas service yet.