‘Tis the season, and churches around the country are implementing all kinds of unique Christmas outreach ideas in order to share the good news of Jesus and love those around them.
We want to highlight the amazing work some of these churches are doing, partly to encourage you, but also to give you new ideas for serving your own city. Be sure to share stories about what your church is already doing in the comments below!
Christmas Outreach Ideas
Discounted Christmas Shopping
Many churches implement a Christmas outreach idea similar to what Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs is doing with its “Gift of Love” program. Church members purchase new items and donate them to a Christmas shop where the church sells them to low-income families at a discounted price. This way, parents don’t have to feel like they’re relying on charity and can still have the dignity of affording to buy their children gifts. The Gift of Love program serves more than 250 families in the area. One volunteer says, “Let me tell you, the volunteers get as much or more out of it. It is a pretty moving experience for what seems like such a simple concept.”
This is a creative idea! Another church in Colorado Springs, Harvest Downtown, is putting on an interactive nativity where people can pet the animals, talk to the shepherds and hold the baby Jesus. There will also be an art show called “Perspectives on the Incarnation” with drinks and snacks for those who attend.
The members of Front Range Alliance Church in Colorado Springs put on a yearly Christmas party as part of their broader ministry to incarcerated mothers at a local prison. From September to March, a team of women from the church goes to the prison to teach a weekly Bible study called Hannah’s Gift. During the class, the moms learn how pursuing a relationship with God can bring healing to their families.
The Hannah’s Gift Christmas party falls halfway through the course, and the women’s children are invited to it if they are able to come. Additional church volunteers support the team in throwing the party and also spend time getting to know the moms and their kids.
The church brings tons of good food, including Chick-fil-A, fresh fruit and vegetables, and Christmas treats (things the women wouldn’t normally have a chance to eat). Santa makes an appearance, and the church provides gingerbread houses for the women to build with their children or with each other if their children are unable to be there. Before leaving, the group sings Christmas carols together and the pastor’s wife shares a gospel message with the kids. One of the women on the weekly team says, “I am always astounded by how much the simple gift of good food means to ladies. And it impacts them so much to get to meet other volunteers from our church who have been praying for them throughout the last few months.”
If you’re interested in prison ministry, but are unable to do something this hands on right now, you could see if sending gifts to inmates in your area is an option. This is something Willow Creek Church has made a habit of doing. This year, the church is packing 55,000 bags to send to prisoners throughout Illinois.
Blessing Your School
Does your church meet in a school? Every year, Awaken Church in Round Rock, Texas, raises money to bless the school where the members meet. Donations help pay for student lunches, as well as items that teachers and students need for their classes.
Many churches have a Christmas outreach that involves packing boxes of goods for those in need in their communities, and Legacy Church in Stanardsville, Virginia, does this ministry in a really cool way. The church partners with a local organization to pack “Legacy Boxes,” which are filled with food, clothes, and firewood. Firewood is a significant need in the area because many people use it to heat their homes and might not have enough for the whole winter.
Families who wish to receive a box fill out an application in October. Then people in the church (whether an individual, a family, or a small group) adopt a family in need. The outreach has a strong relational aspect to it because the adopting family not only purchases the necessary items but also prays for the people they are shopping for and meets the family when delivering the items.
This Sunday, December 15th, church members will forgo their regular service to deliver the boxes to the various families. One volunteer says, “It is SUCH an incredible outreach because we get to do more than just shop and send. We get to meet the families, pray with them, and care for them IN their homes. Several people have kept in touch with their Legacy Box families over the years, and so many people wind up visiting the church because of the relationships that are formed.”