From a Lay Leader's Desk

A series of opinion articles from lay leaders in our synod.


Christmas & Evangelism: Best Practices to Welcome New People

Nov 12, 2019

By Roberto Lara, Assistant to the Bishop for Communications and Development 

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” – Luke 2:10

It is no surprise that Christmas brings a large increase in church attendance. In fact, during the holiday season, six out of ten Americans typically attend church regardless of their religious affiliation. Of those four individuals who abstain from worship or mass, 57% of them say that they would come to church if someone invited them— we know that for many the holidays are rooted in family and time spent with one another. Because Christmas is one of the two occasions per year that our church has an incredible opportunity to invite new families to worship, we must prepare to welcome guests at this holy time, and be our best, most hospitable selves. 

Here are some best practices to welcome new people into our homes of worship this holiday season so that they may become a more permanent member of our congregation:

  1. Empower those who regularly attend workshop to invite their own connections. Give them tools to make it easy to invite friends, neighbors, co-workers and extended family. Electronic invites or social graphics can provide all of the information they need in one place, while maintaining a branded and dynamic look and feel. 
  2. Update your digital presence. More people search for “church” around Christmas and Easter than at any other time, so be sure to update your church website. Check to make sure that all of your service details, time and location are incredibly easy to find. This information should be right on the homepage, not hidden in other pages on the website. 
  3. Tidy up- visitors are coming! It is a good idea to make sure your social media platforms are up to date. Be sure to include promotions of your church’s Christmas events while using compelling photos and video content. It is also a good time to make sure the content on your website is timely. Out of date content can give the wrong impression to new visitors, misinform them, or lead them to believe you are inactive or simply disconnected.
  4. Run social media ads! 7 out of 10 adults spend time on social media and Facebook is by far the most widely used social media platform by this demographic. Even with a small budget, you can run targeted ads in the community, utilize lookalike targets, and retarget people who have visited your website. Consider using a video to invite people to learn more about your church or the special ways you honor the holiday season. 
  5. Collect the information of your new guests and keep the conversation going! During your Christmas services, you will have the opportunity to welcome first-time guests. The follow up matters. Send them an email, make a phone call, or send them a push notification from your church’s app- let them know you are thankful for their visit and would like to get to know them better.

While we read and honor the ancient scriptures, the way we consume information is changing in our modern times. Even if these new targeted guests don’t show up at a service or Christmas event, offering someone an invitation at the most opportune time of year can leave a positive and lasting impression for whenever they change their minds. They’ll remember your warm and welcoming invitation when the timing is right, and that after all, is the reason for the season.