Christmas is a great opportunity to connect with your local community, as it’s also a time when most people are generally quite open to a level of input from the churches in their area. Here are just a few ideas that will help build on your church’s relationship with your local community.
This is a really simple idea, but such a lovely gesture to raise awareness of your church in the local community. It’s something that we’ve done at my own home church for several years now and is always really well received.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, kindly ask your congregation to start buying boxes of chocolate (e.g. Heros, Quality Street, Roses etc) which can be collected throughout the week and on your Sunday morning services.
A nice touch to this gesture is adding on each box a little note, which can be simple as ‘Merry Christmas, love from (your church name)’. You could also include a leaflet to any upcoming Christmas services. It’s not only a great way to build connections with the local businesses in your area, but a really simple way that your congregation can get involved and pull together – and who doesn’t love a bit of that at Christmas time!
With some feeling uneasy about being in large crowds of people for a Christmas carol service, having a drive through carol service could be a really great alternative. Simply have your congregation arrive in their cars, and hold the entire service from your car park!
For those who feel comfortable, invite your congregation to stand or sit outside their car as they sing along to the carols, equally, if they’d prefer to stay in their cars – that’s fine too! Why not also offer out some free hot drinks and mince pies (which can always be distributed in a covid-secure way).
Christmas can be a really difficult and stressful time for families, especially for those that may be struggling financially. Why not connect with your local school or foodbank to find out about some families who are particularly struggling at the moment, and deliver to them a Christmas themed hamper!
You could include things like biscuits, crackers, cheese, chutney, jam, chocolate, fudge and any other Christmas related snacks you can think of! Thoughtful gestures like this go a long way, and are always thoroughly appreciated. Similarly to the chocolate box idea, feel free to add in a little note which can be simple as ‘Merry Christmas, love from (your church name)’ along with a leaflet to your upcoming Christmas service.
Holding a Christmas market at your church is a great way to connect with your local community. Pick a Saturday in December and encourage any local creators and crafters in your community to buy a table (at your own decided price). Holding something like this at your church which isn’t explicitly christian could attract a different variety of people who wouldn’t normally enter your doors.
If your church doesn’t have the capacity to run a christmas market, maybe you could try something a bit more low key. Holding a ‘Free Mulled Wine and Mince Pies’ morning may feel a bit more achievable, and could be equally effective! This could work especially well if yours is a church located fairly central within your community/town. Put up some signs, and as people pass doing their christmas shopping and errands welcome them in for some free mulled wine and mince pies!
If your church doesn’t have the capacity to run a Christmas market, maybe you could try something a bit more low key. Holding a ‘Free Mulled Wine and Mince Pies’ morning may feel a bit more achievable, but could be equally effective! This could work especially well if your church is located fairly central within your community/town. Add some signs around and as people pass doing their Christmas shopping and errands welcome them in for some free mulled wine and mince pies!
Hopefully people will see this and feel encouraged to come in and have a chat too! This is another idea which could potentially attract people who may not usually come to a church ‘event’, so its informal nature could be quite appealing.
We hope that you find these really ideas useful, and that you’re are able to use them in your own way to connect with your community this Christmas!