St. Nicholas Family Party
from Open Doors by LeaderResources
The Winter Phase uses the same pattern as the Fall Phase. The key entry point is the Christmas Pageant-many of our churches are packed for this event. Some are out-of-town visitors, some are your own occasional-attending members and some are families that are checking out churches, vaguely thinking it might be time to find a church home. You want to welcome all of them. That out-of-town visitor may not come back next week but if she raves about the pageant and how nice the people at the church were, her cousin at the Christmas party might overhear it and respond then or later. You're planting seeds-to be generous and don't worry too much about immediate results. Sometimes it takes awhile. You may want to do a St. Nicholas Day Party a couple of weeks before the Pageant as a sort-of "warm up" event. The outline below will give you ideas of what you can do to create a fun event and, again, provide parents with something of value to them.
Follow up events you can do include the Lessons and Carols service often done by Episcopal churches the Sunday after Christmas. This can easily be expanded to welcome the larger community. Another option is to offer a Winter Vacation Bible School (VBS) the week after Christmas when most schools are on vacation. In these tough economic times, families need a low cost place where their children can receive care during the work day. Alternatively, you might do it evenings (dinner + event) or over the weekend when the parents can join in and help provide leadership as well as enjoy time together as a family.
Finally, Epiphany offers another time to have a party that you can invite families to attend. We offer a number of suggestions you can use to make this a fun experience for your families and the friends they invite to join them.
The first step your team needs to take is to decide which of these events and/or how many you will do. If you are a very small church, you may choose to focus on just the Pageant. Others may do two or more events. Remember, the more occasions you have to invite people, the more likely you are to engage families that do not now attend church.
We will provide ideas and suggestions on the following pages, but not as detailed as before as much of it would be repetitive. Use the Fall Phase process of invitation, welcoming and follow up . . . combined with adjustments you make out of what you learned from your experience.
Introduction to Open Doors
Invitation Team Guide
Communications Team: Sample newsletter & bulletin announcement, press release & poster
Event Team Planning Guide
Hospitality Team Recipes & name tags
Santa and Saint Nicholas Sample talk for parents and adults
Purchase from LeaderResources. Available for download as PDFs or editable Word.docs, with full reproducible rights for the original purchaser.