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December 16, 2019
Christmas is the perfect opportunity to reach your community. Here are 8 easy Christmas outreach ideas you can use to reach and retain more people.
December 3, 2019
Christmas is the perfect opportunity to reach your community.
During Christmas, people are more inclined to visit your church.
According to a survey conducted by LifeWay Research, nearly three in 10 people with no religious affiliation have plans to attend a Christmas service. What is more, based on the same survey, 57 percent of the people polled said they would attend church at Christmas if they were invited.
This is HUGE.
Think about it:
Thirty percent of the people in your community—who are not affiliated with a church—plan on attending a Christmas service and 57 percent will attend a service if they are invited.
How many people live in your community?
Take a moment to do the math, and you’ll see why Christmas is a big opportunity for your church to preach the gospel and make disciples.
Here’s the deal:
Leading people to visit your church during Christmas is one thing—encouraging them to stick around is an entirely different ballgame.
In this post, I’m going to walk you through eight practical steps you can take to reach people during Christmas and encourage them to stick around.
Let’s get started!
To reach your guests with the gospel during Christmas, you have to start with them in mind. I know this may sound counterintuitive. But hear me out.
During your Christmas service, you must worship with non-Christians in mind (this is also a good idea for every worship service).
I’m not suggesting for you to water down the gospel or hide your Bibles. That’s not the case at all. What I’m suggesting is to make your worship service easily understood by your guests and non-Christians alike.
Practically speaking, here are some ideas:
I’ll expand on a couple of these ideas below.
But here’s the takeaway:
Make it easy for your guests to know what’s going on.
Beginning with your guests in mind will make it easy for them to celebrate Christmas, be open to hearing the gospel, and consider returning for another visit or take a step toward getting involved with your church.
Everyone is busy at Christmas.
From school events, family get-togethers, and just getting ready for the holidays, everyone's schedule is jammed packed with activity.
To make it easier to reach people in your community, it’s best to hold more than one Christmas service. Hosting multiple services provides ample opportunity for people to visit your church’s Christmas service.
I’m not saying you need to offer 12 different Christmas services. Instead, consider holding more than one worship service to reach families with different needs.For example, some families may be tied up with morning activities whereas other families will have plenty of time to worship during the morning.By offering more than one Christmas service, you’ll be able to accommodate more people, which means you can reach more people with the gospel.
Talk about a win-win situation.
Increasing the number of your Christmas services will place a burden on your volunteers, but the next idea may can alleviate this problem.
Holding multiple Christmas services will be exhausting for your church’s staff and volunteers.
To accommodate the needs of everyone and to allow people to spend time with their family, consider reducing the time of your worship service to 40—45 minutes.
Reducing the time of your Christmas service will decrease your staff and volunteers workload, and allow people to spend time with their family.
Also, if you currently don’t encourage children to participate in your worship service, consider inviting children to join their parents or guardians. This little pivot will reduce the number of volunteers you need to run your Christmas services, and it can also create an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Did you know that more Americans search for “church” around Christmas and Easter than at any other time?
To capture the attention of people searching for “church,” it’s best to update your church’s website for Christmas. Here are five ways you can get your church website ready.
Know what else?
It’s also a good idea to make sure your social media platforms are up to date. Be sure to include promotions for your church’s Christmas services along with your regular social media updates.
Know the most powerful way to lead someone to visit your church?
If you answered Facebook Ads, you’re wrong.
It’s just inviting someone to attend—that’s it.
Based on one study, 82 percent of non-Christians said they would likely attend a church if a friend, co-worker, neighbor, or family member invited them.
Let that sink in.
Eight out of the 10 people you ask to attend your church’s worship service will attend. Call me crazy, but that’s a crazy good batting average any professional baseball player would die for.
Not sure where to start?
Here are simple ways you can empower your congregation to invite a friend:
It will never be easier for people to invite their neighbors, co-workers, and family and friends to a worship service than Christmas. Now’s the time to compel them to action.
The vast majority of people in your community are on social media.
In fact, seven out of 10 adults spend time on social media, and Facebook is by far the most widely used social media platform.
Here’s the deal:
The most cost-effective way to promote your church is with social media ads. They’re highly targeted, and they won’t bust your church’s budget.
Here are just a few ideas you can pursue:
When it comes to retargeting people who visited your church’s website, consider running an ad that expresses appreciation for visiting your website and consider using a video to invite people to learn more about your church.
What's the next step a visitor should take after your Christmas service?
In other words, what’s the best way someone can get further involved with your church?
As for your church, you need to make this step as clear (and compelling) as possible.
Do you want them to join you for a new sermon series?
Is it best for someone to get involved in a small group or Bible study?
Do you have an ideal upcoming church event?
When thinking through this next step, keep in mind what’s best for your visitors.
For example, if you’re expecting an influx of parents and children, consider preaching through a family-oriented sermon series in January. This is an easy way you can faithfully teach the Bible, meet the practical needs of your guests, and create a natural next step for them to take.
Now that your plan is in place, there’s one next step you need to take.
During your Christmas services, you will have the opportunity to welcome first-time guests.
You made a great first impression.
You collected their contact information.
But now what?
Follow up with your visitors.
This isn’t a complicated process.
All you have to do is obtain your visitor's contact information and follow up with them afterward.
To do this, you can:
By following up with your visitors, you will significantly increase the likelihood of them taking the next step with your church.
So don’t leave your guests hanging.
Let them know you’re thankful for their visit, and that you’d love an opportunity to get to know them better.
Need help keeping track of your visitors?
With Tithe.ly Church Management, you can easily keep track of your visitors.
For example, you can create a process to make sure you follow up, and delegate a staff member or volunteer to oversee it.
The follow-up process you create can look something like this:
Creating a system like this will make it easier for your church to stay in touch with your first-time guests.
There you have it.
Eight ways to reach more people during Christmas
This list isn’t exhaustive, and we know there’s a lot more your church can do.
Share with us in the comments below what you’ve found helpful.
In a previous blog post, I shared the different ways your church can thank donors—from automated emails to year-end giving reports. Printed donation letters also play an essential role in your church’s stewardship efforts.
Donation letters are the Swiss Army knife of your church’s gratitude arsenal. It may not be the most powerful—but it’s versatile, handy, and gets used often.
Your basic church donation letter can serve many different purposes, including:
A single, well-crafted donation letter can pull together several of these things simultaneously. Better donation letters lead to more giving, which leads to more donation letters—thus creating a cycle of on-going church generosity.
Here’s the good news—you don’t have to write an individualized letter for every person who gives to your church. That would be tough to do for even smaller churches. And most donors don’t expect you to. They’d rather you be putting their gift to better use in the community, instead of ceaselessly writing thank you notes.
With the possible exception of some unique circumstances, your church can use template language for the majority of your church donation letters. You’ll have to add in custom details like the donor’s name and gift amount, but you can write everything else in advance.
To make this even easier on you, here are a few basic church donation letter templates you can copy and paste. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be in print—you could just as easily turn some of these samples into email appeals.
The Donation Acknowledgement Letter is a basic way you can confirm and affirm a monetary gift to your church. Sending these is standard practice in church and nonprofit culture.
Dear [first name],
I want to personally thank you for your donation of [gift amount] to [church name]. We’re honored you would bless us with your generosity. Donations like yours make a big difference in the work our church is doing in the community.
Without givers like you, our church can’t have an impact or influence in our community. With your support, we’re partnering with local nonprofits, sending out global mission trips, and hosting small groups on topics that help real people like you. Together, we can make a difference.
Because we’re a tax-exempt nonprofit, you also get to write this donation off on your taxes. This letter serves as official proof of your donation, so keep it in your records come tax season. At the end of the year, we’ll also send you an annual recap with how much you’ve given to the church.
Thank you for supporting [church name]!
Not every church member realizes the importance of giving, or understand Bible verses about tithing and giving. So a Donation Request Letter helps to spread that awareness and encourage a spirit of generosity.
Dear [first name],
How are the finances in your household? That was a rhetorical question, so you don’t have to answer—besides, this is a letter so we wouldn’t hear you anyway. But we still want you to think about that question.
Money is a uniquely human issue, one we all struggle with to one degree or another. Even if you’re financially blessed, you still have the burden of stewarding your money wisely. And we believe that one of the best ways to invest your money is into the local church.
Tithing (giving 10% of your income) on a regular basis not only supports the work we do at [church name]. It doesn’t just support local missions and community growth. It also shows an obedience to God by making his work a financial priority in your life.
So if you find yourself ready to put God first in both your heart and your wallet, we encourage you to make a one-time gift or sign up to make recurring donations. That way, you won’t have to ever wonder again about the financial status of your household.
Many church donations aren’t just one-time gifts. Plenty of givers contribute monthly—and that should be acknowledged.
Use this template to correspond with recurring givers.
Dear [first name],
Thank you for being an active and faithful member of our church community. By giving to our church on a monthly basis, you’re showing that our church has a meaningful place in your heart. We just wanted to write this to let you know that you’re in our heart, too.
Donating to the church monthly allows us to preach the gospel, make disciples, and support others in our community who need help. Others like the local food bank and the nearby homeless shelter. We’re answering the cry of the needy, and it’s all thanks to contributors like you.
We earnestly appreciate your ongoing support and want to let you know we’re here for you. If there’s ever anything we can do for you and your family, don’t hesitate to reach out. You are a valued member of our church family. And you’re financial support is making a difference.
At the end of each year, it’s customary to give your church supporters a summary of their gifts. The primary reason is for tax purposes, but it’s also a way to recap everything your church has done over the past year with their support.
Dear [first name],
You’re getting this letter because you gave to [church name] at some point during the past year. That might have been a one-time gift, or recurring donations. Either way, we want to thank you for your generous support. Every contribution helps.
One of the official reasons for this letter is for tax purposes. That’s right—you get to write these donations off on your taxes. Which is why we’ve included a summary of all the contributions you’ve made to our church this year.
But the other reason for this letter is to let you know what we’ve done with the money you gave. We take stewardship very seriously, which means we value spending our time and resources wisely.
During the year, our church supported local nonprofits, sent global missions teams, and baptised quite a few people. It was a great year for us—thanks in large part to donors like you.
So thank you for your support of our church, and we hope you’ll consider continuing to contribute to our mission in the coming year.
Sometimes you need to make a more significant financial push using tried and true church fundraising ideas. Some churches call this a Stewardship Campaign or a Church Capital Campaign. Either way, the goal is to raise a certain amount of money for a big project. And typically, a solid letter of appeal is an integral part of that.
Dear [first name],
God has a plan for everyone and everything. That includes you, and it includes [church name]. None of us can fully know God’s plan—the best we can do is pray and listen for clarity. Our church leadership has been doing just that and are excited to announce our latest church project.
[Detail the outline of the major church project—this could include a building campaign, or raising support for a global mission trip. Anything specific to your church that requires a fundraising letter. Be sure to include a fundraising goal so everyone knows what you’re shooting for.]
But we can’t pull this off without your support. Whether you give to the church on a regular basis, or just attend on occasion, we’re asking you to consider contributing to this massive undertaking prayerfully. It’s something we need our entire church community’s help with.
Even if you can’t make a large gift, know that every little bit helps. It’s more about coming together as a community united behind a common cause. We hope that you’ll consider making a donation towards this great step forward that we’re making together.
It’s not enough to just copy and paste this content and send away. The key to an effective church donation letter is a touch of personalization. Follow these tips to take your donation letters to the next level:
There’s no one right or wrong way to write a donation letter or request contributions. You’ve got to do what is right for your church and congregation. But if you stick to these general tips, you’ll probably start to see some traction when it comes to giving.
Most people don’t love talking about money in church. But it’s a necessary and vital part of your church. And maximizing your efforts when it comes to donation letters will help make those conversations more comfortable. So what do you do next to put this into effect?
And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.
Tithely’s systems make it as easy as possible for people to give to your church. Now all you need to start doing is generating a culture of gratitude. There’s nothing standing in your way. Go unleash generosity in your church.
How does your church use donation letters to spread generosity? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Robert Carnes. Robert is a writer and storyteller. He's the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. A former church communicator and nonprofit marketer, Robert works as a managing editor for Orange in Atlanta.