Notes from FIEC Leadership in Lockdown webinar on Christmas isn’t Cancelled with John Stevens, Kathryn Jackson, Mike Kendall, Neil Tallamy, and Jonathan Carswell.
1. The Christmas Story in Luke 2:8-18 is a paradigm for evangelism. The shepherds were people who heard the gospel, believed the gospel, confirmed the gospel (went to Bethlehem to confirm the truth of the angel’s message), and spread the gospel. That is the basic pattern for evangelism. These things are what we as individuals and as churches are called to do, not just at Christmas, but all the time.
2. Guidance Update – Implication for Churches of Three-Tier Coronavirus Alert System:
– Medium Risk Alert: same restrictions as present; public worship allowed but no mingling between qualifying groups (rule of 6); meetings in homes allowed with maximum of 6 people; small groups in churches but no mingling between groups of 6.
– High Risk Alert: Attend services only as individual/household group (inc. linked); may not become member of any other groups participating in the gathering; may not otherwise mingle with any person participating in the gathering; meetings in private homes up to 6 outdoors; for small groups in church qualifying groups made up of only members household.
– Very High Risk Alert: Attend services only as individual/household groups (inc. linked); may not become member of any other group participating in the gathering; may not otherwise mingle with any person participating in the gathering; no meetings in private homes (household only); for small groups in church building the qualifying group must be members household.
See this blogpost by John Stevens for more detailed analysis.
3. Ideas for Christmas this Year.
– Getting Advent Ready – sending an advent book to every family/household in the church at the end of the November. For families – A better than anything Christmas; Unexpected Gift; For adults – Fixated.
– Invitations to events – instead of postcard, produce a booklet including short testimonies of church members, explanation of the good news of Christmas.
– Home for Christmas – videos of carols for online and in person services.
– Livestream all the services.
– Pre-recording Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services to give AV people a break.
– Christmas Chat & Christmas Jumpers – Zoom chat on Christmas Day after the service.
– The Narnia Experience (contact CS Lewis estate for permission) – installation and exhibition based on the books which explain the gospel with goodie bags with activities for children.
– Drive-In Carol Service if you have access to a large car park. More information on doing this HERE.
– Focus on Carol Services as presentation rather than participation this year. Consider using one of the many Christmas Videos that are produced each year.
– Nativity trail between houses of people in the church. [Alternative would be asking shops to put up a picture for a community advent calendar.]
– Drive round the neighbourhood playing carols.
– ZOOM nativity – drop around a bag of props for children at their homes and get them to put them on at different points in the story.
4. Suggestions of ways to use resources from 10ofthose.com.
– Advent books as a way to unite the church family.
– Door to door distribution of evangelistic literature.
– Carol service at Home CDs as a way of taking carol services to people’s homes.
– Giveaway children’s books to toddler group, to children in local school.
– Evangelistic posters to put up on door or window.
– Put Christmas tracts in with your Christmas cards.
5. Christmas for many is going to feel bleak this year so we want to use this time to encourage people with good news about the light that shines into the darkness.