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Christmas Eve, Making Disciples and Church Growth

I have shared often how crucial Christmas Eve worship is as an opportunity to reach non- or nominal Christians.  A recent article in Ministry Matters (www.ministrymatters.com click on “Articles”, it was posted November 28th) entitled “How Christmas Can Help Your Church Grow in 2012” caught my attention.  The authors listed 6 key ideas.  “1) Promote your January sermon series and other upcoming activities during Advent and Christmas services.”  2) Use your Christmas kids' programming as an on-ramp for new families to get involved.  3)  Offer multiple mission opportunities. 4) Do the caroling thing. (The CEB New Testament Christmas Outreach Kit works well for this kind of outreach.) 5) Use your church’s small groups for outreach during the holidays.  6) Be creative and try new things.”  The authors, Betsy Hall & Shane Raynor, add: “Don't settle with doing the same candlelight service year after year. Remember, Christmas Eve is prime time. Pull out all the bells and whistles. Get your most creative people on board and provide a worship experience that will make first time visitors want to return in 2012.” To which I add a hearty Amen! The worship of God is the first and most basic step on the path of discipleship. I commend the article to you.  It closes with the challenging question, “What does your church do during Advent and Christmas that encourages growth in the months ahead?” As you are lifting up the connection between Christmas Eve, making disciples, and church growth? Don’t forget alternative forms of communication as a way to reach seekers.  A church Facebook page and a twitter auto update are two (among many) different suggestions.  (Our younger clergy have been coaching me, and they are great resources to visit with about different options!)  Whatever you do, have Christmas Eve services featured PROMINENTLY on your  website! While you are at it, another article from the Lewis Leadership Center is really worth your attention.  It is entitled “Asking Bigger Questions” and written by Keith Anderson. It is from The Lewis Center for Church Leadership online journal Leading Ideas dated November 30th (www.churchleadership.com).