by Guest Blogger Alvin Gan
Most churches report that their highest attendance takes place at their Christmas and Easter services. While many of the kids who joined you for VBS and fall festival may have gone missing-in-action in-between, there’s a good chance they will turn up at Christmas if you give them a little nudge. So why not put together a fun outreach event this Christmas?
Start Planning Early
It’s never too early to start your planning for Christmas outreach, or any outreach event, for that matter. In fact, the best time to start planning for next Christmas is right after this Christmas! The earlier you decide on your theme, the better. You will then have more time to gather resources, ask around for well-loved items that you can re-use and take advantage store coupons and discounts. As you are preparing, executing, and evaluating this year’s event, take note of ideas that: you would have shelved, of what went well and what didn’t, and of what you wish you had done differently. Write them all down before you forget! They are all helpful tips for next Christmas!
Don’t Do It All Alone
Rather than doing everything yourself, invite others to join in your preparation and in running the event. Chances are you will end up doing a much better job at planning, promoting and executing your event as a team. Perhaps more importantly, you will have more people praying alongside you for the event.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, but that doesn’t mean the theme for your outreach must be limited to the nativity scene or Bethlehem. Just google “birthday party themes,” and you will find lots of fun ideas, ranging from “under the sea” to “up, up and away!” Why should Jesus’ birthday celebration be any different? With some out-of-the-box thinking and creativity, there is no reason why we can’t think up a fun theme for our Christmas event – one that honors Christ and that kids would love to join in!
Ride on What’s Trending
One good way to get people excited about your event is to ride on the buzz of what’s currently trending. Find out what child-friendly movies will be released around Christmas and plan an event related to that movie. For example, Spies in Disguise is to be released in December 2019. The world is facing a disaster and counting on the nerdy Walter Beckett along with his partner Lance Sterling, (whom he accidentally turned into a pigeon), to come to its rescue. While not knowing much else about the movie, you can still plan an event with fun games involving heroes saving the world. Think spies, gadgets, and birds, and wrap it up with a Gospel presentation about Jesus Christ, the true Savior of the world! Alternatively, if you are uncomfortable basing your event on too many unknowns, plan an event based on a more well-known movie. Perhaps a film like Star Wars, which incidentally has another planned release in December 2019: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
Or Stick to Something Traditional
If you prefer something more traditional, below are three themes you may like.
1. The Greatest Christmas Gift
Play a variety of games involving gifts. For example:
- Pile Up the Presents – Players stack presents to form the tallest tower.
- Elf Challenge – Whoever carries the most gifts across the room wins.
- Oven Mitt Unwrap –Try your hand at unwrapping a Christmas present while wearing a pair of oven mitts.
- Christmas Left Right Game – A story is read aloud, and the parcel gets passed to the left or right as directed by the story.
Detailed instructions for these and other delightfully fun Christmas games can be found here.
To wrap up the event, bring out a huge, eye-catching gift-wrapped box for an object lesson on why Jesus is the greatest Christmas gift.
2. Twas the Night Before Christmas
Written almost 200 years ago, “Twas The Night Before Christmas” remains the most popular Christmas poem ever. Many of our ideas about Santa Claus, for example, how he enters homes on Christmas eve through the chimney with a sack of gifts, originate from that poem.
Sadly, Santa Claus and Christmas trees have overtaken the nativity scene as symbols of Christmas, and “happy holidays” is becoming more commonly heard than “merry Christmas.” Recent surveys show that, although most people in the United States still celebrate Christmas, it has become more of a cultural holiday rather than a religious one.
Rather than sweeping Santa and the Christmas tree under the carpet, why not throw a party involving these popular festive icons before bringing up the true story of Christmas?
You can play a variety of games involving these Christmas symbols. For example:
- Christmas Bingo – Featuring colorful festive illustrations of the nativity scene, baby Jesus, the wise men, Christmas trees, gingerbread houses and more!
- Who Has The Ornament? – Don’t get caught with the ornament in your hands! Players sit in a circle and pass a Christmas ornament around behind their backs while someone standing in the center of the circle tries to guess where the ornament is.
- Christmas Tree Dress Up – Use paper and other materials to transform a teammate into a Christmas tree.
You can find detailed instructions and download beautifully designed free printables here to play these and other Christmas games.
3. Christmas Scavenger Hunt
There are many ways to conduct a Christmas Scavenger Hunt. Here are some ideas:
- Christmas Party Scavenger Hunt – If you are playing indoors or with a large group of young children, you may like this version of a Scavenger Hunt. Instead of hunting for physical objects, players look for 40 Hidden Cards.
- Christmas Scavenger Hunt Bingo – Combine the fun of Scavenger Hunt with Bingo! Each player gets a unique Christmas Scavenger Hunt Bingo Card and hunts for items found on their own card. The first player to Bingo wins!
- Christmas Treasure Hunt – Just like the Magi followed clues that eventually led them to baby Jesus, players will look for various clues that ultimately lead them to the Christmas treasure.
Detailed instructions along with beautifully designed free printables for these scavenger hunts can be found here.
Keep Christ at the Center of Christmas
It is important that every child goes home with a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. You can do this by giving each child The True Story of Christmas Animated Tract at the closing of your event. It’s an affordable stocking stuffer and unique Gospel tract. It has captivating, moving animations, and kids will be intrigued by how the images can move without any batteries. Or buy any small gift and pack them in this YOU Are The Reason For Christmas! Box-Tract that opens up to reveal the gospel message.
Christmas is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar for outreach. Remember to keep Christ at the center of your event, and also at the center of your preparations. Pray, pray, pray! Christ loves all the little children of the world, and he wants to see your event draw the little ones to Him!
About our guest blogger, Alvin Gan:
Alvin Gan is the father of three noisy (but lovely) teenagers and founder of two websites that provide creative evangelism and discipleship resources.
LetTheLittleChildrenCome.com specializes in unique child evangelism tools and resources to help convey the plan of salvation for kids effectively.
BibleGamesCentral.com develops Bible games for youths, kids and even adults to teach spiritual truths.