This time of year brings new opportunities for churches to care for their members and reach into their communities.
Here are some ideas for your church this Christmas season.
1. Free child care
Provide an evening of baby-sitting so parents can go shopping without the kids, catch a Christmas concert, or get some holiday errands finished.
This would be especially beneficial to single parents who find it hard to get away and grab some surprise presents.
2. Parade giveaways
Hand out candy canes or bottles of water at your community’s Christmas parade. Include an invitation to your church’s Christmas services and events.
It’s a great way to be visible in your community and let people know what is happening in your church family during the holidays.
3. Nursing home visits
Sing Christmas carols, have a special Christmas service, play board games, or just chat with residents.
They always appreciate those who take the time to visit and brighten their day.
4. Decoration volunteers
While some families enjoy putting up the tree and all the holiday decorations, some may want help and others may be unable.
Have teams go out to assist those who ask. Donations for missions can be accepted.
5. Operation Christmas Child shoebox celebration
If your church collects Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, bring the church together to celebrate all the finished boxes.
You could also buy dozens of small gifts and clothing for volunteers to fill boxes one Saturday.
6. Free gift-wrapping
Set up a station at the local mall or shopping center to provide free gift-wrapping for those not quite as skilled in presentation. Invite those who stop by to church services.
If a public space is not available, advertise certain days for people to stop by your church for free gift-wrapping.
7. Toy shop
For families who struggle to provide gifts for their children, have members donate new toys and set up a shop for families in need.
Let them buy the toys at a significant discount and use the money for missions or to purchase toys for next year.
8. Stuffed animal collection at LifeWay
Encourage your church family to participate in LifeWay Stores’ annual stuffed animal drive.
For $5, customers at the store can purchase an animal embroidered with the phrase “Jesus Loves Me,” which will then be donated to local children’s hospitals and other ministries.
9. Prison outreach
Work with local jails and prisons to minister to the men and women there, who will be especially lonely removed from family and friends during Christmas.
Reach out to some of the 2.7 million children in the U.S. with a parent in prison by partnering with Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program.
10. Food baskets
Gather some of your best chefs and bakers to prepare baskets to take to families in need or others who could appreciate home-cooked food.
Send a group of carolers to deliver each basket to the homes.
11. Adopt college students
While most will travel home to be with family and friends, some college students—particularly international students—will be stuck on campus during the holidays.
Have families in your church volunteer to host the students. Welcome the students to participate in family traditions and enjoy good food.
What outreach ideas have been successful for your church during the holiday season?