It’s only Reformation Day (Halloween for the pagans) and we’re already thinking Christmas.  But if your church hasn’t started thinking about Christmas yet, you’ll miss a great outreach opportunity.

C Michael Johnson and Tom Bowers have written a great marketing piece called “The 12 Mistakes of Christmas Outreach.”  Yes, they want you to buy their outreach products, but they have some of the best approaches I’ve seen (and no, I don’t get paid to say so.)  The introduction to the guide begins saying the authors “strongly believe any church that takes active steps to avoid these mistakes will dramatically increase the effectiveness of their outreach. Christmas outreach done in the way described here will positively impact every other facet of a church’s ministry, and many of the recommendations provide smarter ways to plan for the whole year. ”

Got your attention?

Mistake #1 is “Not planning for something great.”

We live in a world of extraordinary things. The mistake often made is to settle for the ordinary, familiar….or safe. Familiarity does not always breed contempt. But settling for the ordinary and the all-too-familiar may breed something else. … The Big Idea does not necessarily mean big budget, or big staff, or big splash. Small can be remarkable

Mistake #2 is almost the same:  Doing little or nothing during Christmas

With all the messages crowding for attention, all the competing distractions, all the busyness and demands for time and focus, it’s tempting to decide not to try anything special during Christmas. … unchurched people only visit a church they have heard of. Unchurched people motivated to attend a service (say, at Christmas or Easter) are almost certain to choose a church that has captured their awareness at that particular time. To maintain high awareness, a church needs to have a strong community presence during the strategically important Christmas season.

I highly recommend you read this guide, and then you get ready to do something.  Make it consistent with yoru message, but do something special.  Tell your community you’re doing it and then do it the best you can, even with limited budget.  Even if it’s caroling around the neighborhood, Christmas eve vespers, free gift wrap service, or Christmas present storage so prying eyes don’t look until Christmas eve, do something!

The guide is found here.