The Christmas season is upon us.  No doubt your church is already scheduled music, special services, and lighting the advent wreath.  Are you using this as a growth opportunity?

Have you advertised on community and online bulletin boards?  I posted notice for our church’s presentation on the ‘Events’ page of the local paper,and the 3  local TV stations and 3 radio stations that had events pages.  Posters went up at workplaces and stores that were amenible.  (Not many stores will post flyers at high impact times like this -for fear of alienating those that come later and don’t have space to post – but you can ask.)

Every special music presentation should point the listener to an understanding of the miracle of Jesus’ birth.  If the music & story line doesn’t implicitly say so, the moderator or pastor must make the connection clear between the birth and death and resurrection.  Don’t assume everyone there is a believer.  I have a Jewish coworker coming to hear me sing, knowing it’s a church; she will hear the Gospel plainly.

I say this because I was chatting on an online news site last week and another mentioned he was a-theist; he wasn’t against God, just didn’t believe it was true.  He said his friends told him his lack of belief would send him to hell, but never told him how to be saved.  I mentioned that some believers don’t know how to share the faith, and pointed him to an online explanation of the plan of salvation.  He replied with thanks for my concern, at not condemning his position but offering a solution.  He said he’s never been told the Gospel before.

In your Christmas audience may be an uncle, grandma, child or friend who has never before clearly heard the Gospel.  They just came to hear the music, or to spend time with someone, or to keep peace in the family.  Never let the opportunity pass to provide a reason for the season.

Seth Godin is a great thinker.  His main area is marketing, but to help people market new products he needs to understand our culture, and describe the culture in ways no one else can.

This weekend I got an email to a video of a presentation Godin gave back in Feb 2003, and posted to an idea sharing site in April 2007.  It’s now over 5 years old, but is still a fantastic 18 minutes on how to stand out in getting your message across.

Be different. (more…)

Robbie wrote a great post called “No Youth Volunteers: No Youth Ministry”  He gives the qualities of a good youth volunteer: Crazy, Radical, Caffeinated, Brave, Dreamer.

For instance, he says “A Youth Volunteer steps out of their shoes & walks in a teenagers shoes. The best leaders are the ones that relate to the youth, where the youth are at. … Youth volunteers take the Gospel & radically mold it to where the youth are. Jesus did ministry the same way”

The good youth worker sees past the exterior and sees a teen to find themselves in a culture that is constantly changing, trying to find some hope.  “They dream about what God could do…and take action.”

The pastoral youth leader is there to plan, to pray, to organize. But it’s tough doing it alone.  Every church that is committed to reaching teenagers for the Gospel needs mature volunteer believers who will look past their own discomfort to pour themselves into the next generation.  They’re out there.  Go get them.