December is a time of invitations. We get invited to one party and then another. We get invited to lunch or dinner at one or another friend’s home. We get invited to concerts, plays, and ballet performances of the Nutcracker. We do our fair share of inviting others to the same in our weeks leading up to Christmas Day. The big question is, how often do we think about inviting people to join in our celebrating the birth of Christ at our Christmas Eve worship? Or how often do we think about inviting people to worship during Advent as we prepare for that celebration?
Jesus once told his disciples he would make them fish for people. But if we don’t invite people to join us for worship or other ministry events or projects and expect people will simply show up that would be like going fishing and hoping the fish jump in the boat! December is an excellent month to invite people who don’t have a church home to worship and various other events focused on Christmas. Here are some examples and opening lines you might try to invite them to join you.
Dec 3-10: Advent Giving Tree Shopping
Say: “While we’re out shopping can you help me buy a gift for my Advent Giving Tree family? Our church purchases nearly 300 gifts for families in need living in Camden County every Christmas and we picked up several tags from the Advent Giving Tree at our church last Sunday. Want to help me?” (If they ask more about it, invite them to join you for worship on Sunday and pick up a tag or two for themselves to help out.)
Dec 3: Drop N Shop Childcare
Say: “I’ve still got some shopping to do for my children and my church’s youth group is sponsoring a Drop ‘n Shop childcare event from Noon to 3:00 on Sunday Dec 3. They’ll have crafts, games, and children’s Christmas shows for the kids to be involved in so they’ll have some fun while we get some holiday tasks done. Want to drop off the kids and join me? We could even go to worship together beforehand if you like. Then we can grab some lunch and catch up along the way.”
Dec 10: Children’s Christmas Pageant
Say: “Our Sunday school children are providing a unique retelling of the Nativity story and experiencing the wonder of Jesus’ birth amidst all the hustle and bustle of life. There’s even a dinner planned for after the pageant so there’s one less meal to worry about! With our children being such good friends I think they might enjoy seeing them in the audience. Why don’t you come as our guests that day and join us? We’d love to have you and hope you can stay for the dinner.”
Dec 17: Lessons & Carols Worship
Say: “Our church is holding a really great musical worship the Sunday before Christmas. It’s a Lessons and Carols worship at the 10:30 service featuring all the choirs and guest instrumentalists. It’s really a great way to get into the mood for Christmas and easy to follow along as well. Want to join us?” Christmas Eve: Say: “What are you doing Christmas Eve this year? Our church has a beautiful candlelight worship each year and we find it sets the tone for our celebration of Christmas the next day. We go to the (insert your worship preference here) because (insert your reason). We’d love to have you be our guest. Want to come? Here’s a card (available at the Usher’s Tables) in case you want a reminder or are interested in a different time. They’re all great.”
New members start out as first time guests. First time guests start out as friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members who were first INVITED by someone they know and trust to join them for worship or a ministry event. Don’t forget to invite someone who doesn’t have a church home to join you this Advent as we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas.