St. Nicholas

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 Open Doors
Inviting Families to Church: St. Nicholas Party

OPEN DOORS is an experiential learning process that's actually fun! Your congregation will enjoy creating events that will build community as well as offer "low threat" ways for people to get to know you a bit before they show up at worship. You'll learn how to build relationships, invite, engage and follow up with those who come to visit. You'll build teams to lead events, train and encourage inviters, pray for the initiative and help incorporate newcomers into the congregation's ongoing life. You can also draw on ideas for how to "go forth" and engage families out in the community.

This is a fresh way to invite families to your church. Open Doors presents a comprehensive program using regular church activities and special parties as gateways—outreach—to invite new families to your church. This resource offers simple and easy-to-do events focused on four key entry points, one in each season, supplemented with other activities and events.

St Nick
 
Image: © St. Nicholas Center

Fall
Back to School Party
Sunday School Launch
Blessing of Backpacks
St. Francis Day: Blessing of Animals
Thanksgiving

Winter
St. Nicholas Party—complete plan included here
Christmas Pageant
Lessons and Carols
Winter Vacation Bible School
Epiphany

Spring
Lent, Palm Sunday, Holy Week
Easter Day and Egg Hunt
Compassion and Mercy Sunday
Holy Humor Sunday
Pentecost

Summer
Vacation Bible School
Summer Church

The purpose is to build an all-church climate of invitation and hospitality. A wealth of material provides background and practical help to develop a comprehensive approach to becoming a church that is truly inviting and welcoming. Options are presented that will appeal to both your own church families and others outside the church. Guidelines and detail (activities, songs, recipes, liturgies, schedules, training notes and more) are given for all tasks, assigned to "teams," (a team may be one or two people or more, depending on the task and situation). Teams:

• Invitations Team (recruit, train, encourage inviters, coordinate and track invitations)
• Communications Team (publicity)
• Hospitality Team (food and welcoming/greeting)
• Event Team (plans and executes particular event/s)
• Prayer Team (prays for everyone)
• Incorporation Team (help to incorporate those who attend three times)
St Nick

Image: © St. Nicholas Center

This is a large, comprehensive program. The wise church will begin by choosing one or two activities to expand presence and visibility in the community. Some ideas may be used to tweak up regular activities and services to increase invitation and welcome. It is important to begin modestly and only attempt what can realistically be done—other activities may be added later. Or you may choose to put all of your energy and focus on one main event.

A St. Nicholas Party

This party is an introduction to the Open Doors approach, providing material to create a St. Nicholas Party that reaches out beyond your congregation. It is a sample and introduction to Open Doors, though there is a great deal of additional helpful background and information in Open Doors. As this is only a taste, you may want to access Open Doors for more information and guidance for the all the teams, including the prayer and incorporation teams.

Introduction to Open Doors
Seasonal Background

Invitation Team Guide
Communications Team: Sample newsletter & bulletin announcement, press release & poster
Event Team Planning Guide
Hospitality Team Recipies & name tags
Santa and Saint Nicholas Sample talk for parents and adults

Open Doors from LeaderResources. A comprehensive approach to assist a church in being inviting and welcoming, particularly to families. Guides for all aspects of event preparation.

Purchase from LeaderResources. Available for download as PDFs or editable Word.docs, with full reproducible rights for the original purchaser.

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