The Rev. Junius B. Dotson will be sharing 3 Ways to Connect with Your Community at Christmas.

3 Ways to Connect with Your Community at Christmas

Join us LIVE as the Rev. Junius B. Dotson shares 3 ways to connect with your community this Christmas!

Posted by Discipleship Ministries on Thursday, December 8, 2016

Being Intentional about Engaging and Connecting

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. It is when we celebrate the arrival of God in human form, the Incarnation. Emmanuel, God with us!

Our theological task during this season of Advent  is also to remind people not simply that Jesus was born in a manger in a little town called Bethlehem, but also to help everyone remember and to eagerly anticipate his second return to earth.

The essence of our ministry is that we have Good News! Great news! It’s the best news in the world! And people want to hear it. In fact, the Christmas season is one of the few times that people take the initiative to seek out a place to worship.

This is an opportune time for churches to be intentional about engaging and connecting with their communities. While you are planning the various Christmas Eve services, children’s plays, special music productions, Christmas caroling and Christmas ministry team gatherings, don’t forget to plan for the people who are either first time or returning guests to your church.

Here are three ways to connect with your community at Christmas:

We should be even more intentional in our efforts to engage the community because people are more receptive during this season.

First, invite. It sounds simple, but I have coached a lot of churches where they feel no intentional outreach is needed during this season because people will just show up. Instead, we should be even more intentional in our efforts to engage the community because people are more receptive during this season.

So maximize your evangelism efforts. Consider a cost-effective invite card that your members can share with people they want to personally invite to church. Consider direct mail, or advertising in the local paper. The idea is to actively engage people in your community.

The way you plan, preach, make music selections and transition in worship are all very important.

Next, plan a winsome worship experience.

When people show up, your church has the opportunity to demonstrate the spirit of excellence. The way you plan, preach, make music selections and transition in worship are all very important.

You need to be at your best, and planning with excellence allows you to be totally reliant on God in the worship experience. The more you plan, the freer you are in worship. If you slack in your planning, it is painfully obvious to those in attendance.

At Discipleship Ministries, we can help you plan an excellent service of worship. At our website, www.umcdiscipleship.org, you will find worship helps, music suggestions, preaching ideas, graphics and a team of people ready to assist you.

Be sure to have a follow up plan in place to invite new and returning guests into your church family.

And finally, follow up. Be sure to have a follow up plan in place to invite new and returning guests into your church family.

Share with them the concrete and practical ways that your church can help them on their spiritual journey. In my churches, I always phrased it like this: “Here are the ways you can get connected this week.” Or, “Plan to join us on the first Sunday of the new year as we begin a new message series that … ” and then share ways the series will be life-changing and will have real, practical ideas for them.

Within 48 hours of that service, send a personal handwritten note – not a form letter – thanking people for attending and inviting them to come back to your church.

Remember that regardless of how good the music is or how great the sermon is, a person must be welcomed into your church in a friendly and helpful way or the first impression of the church will be a negative one.

The greatest impact you will have on someone is when they first walk through the door.