Confined to Christmas?
Five tips for leading a church in carol service follow-up
David Dargue is the minister of Christ Church Gosforth in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He is married to Sarah and they have three children.
As I write, our house is a flurry of activity. There are three Christmas things happening for friends and neighbours in the next two weeks. Then it’s our church carol services. Writing cards, sending texts, getting to the shops. It’s all go!
It’s tempting to see 25 December at 11.15am as the finish line. But unless I’m happy to wait until next Christmas, I’ll want to think about how I can keep helping people get to know Jesus. Not only for me, but for our whole church.
Here are a few things we’re doing at my church. It’s not an exhaustive list, but rather aims to stimulate thoughts for your context.
1. Talk to your regulars
As a staff team, we’ve had ideas about what we might do. We each hope and expect to be personally engaged with people who are looking into the claims of Christ. But we’re a small part of our church. So we’ve talked to and surveyed our regulars, both about the course to do, and timings.
2. Make a plan and action it
We’ve chosen Life Explored
again (rather than Christianity Explored
), because it’s a better fit for people we’re meeting. And we’re hoping for Tuesday evenings, 7.30 for 7.45pm at the Costa on the High Street, from 9 January. (Which is different to the Sunday evening course last time.) Make sure there’s not so much else going on in your programme, that the course gets lost.
3. Bring your regulars into the plan
We need to move from ‘my plan’, to ‘our plan.’ We’ll have a Sunday slot about Life Explored so that regulars know what it is. We’ll recruit and envision leaders and bringers, so that it becomes their plan too, and not just mine. Life Explored is something we’re doing together as a church, and we want it to feel like that.
There are people who joined us recently whom this would be particularly good for, so we’re inviting them now. And there are one or two from other churches nearby, for whom the venue and time work particularly well to try and bring people. We’re thrilled to serve.
4. Enthuse about the course at carol services
It’s a great course, and we want people to know that. Maybe we’ll show the intro video. Maybe we’ll have a little interview about it. Everyone will get a Life Explored flyer at the end.
5. Remember who your guests were
As a church, hopefully you’ll have guests at carol services. As a church leader, you might have your own guests. So who do you talk to afterwards? While you might be able to meet some visitors, it won’t be all. And so your personal follow-up is limited. But if you note who the guests were, and who they came with, you’re in a better position to get in touch afterwards.
You can still order Life Explored in time for your Christmas follow-up at church.