Promoting Christ-centred Biblical Ministry

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Reaching out at Christmas

reprinted from the Spring-Summer 2003-04 edition of Essentials


      SOME GROUND RULES: Sue Collier edits the Evangelism Newsletter & works as Outreach Coordinator at Holy Trinity Doncaster
     People are busy so watch for body language
     Remember you are sharing not preaching
     Reaching out at Christmas is not different to reaching out at other times - it just opens up new and different opportunities
     Pray for those you are in contact with, especially that this season will create new interest and that God will motivate others to seek him
    Remember that for some people it can be a sad time of the year, so be sensitive to people who may be grieving or lonely or struggling in some way. Perhaps you could deliver a small hamper to the next of kin of funerals held in the previous year with a small note of support and encouragement.   The Evangelism Resource Group, an EFAC VIC task group, produces four newsletters a year full of practical ideas and resources. The above article was written for this newsletter. A forum will be established for people who are primarily engaged in the ministry of evangelism. For further information or to receive regular newsletters and information please contact Sue Collier or Stephen Abbott at Ridley College 9207 4800     
     When you share your faith remember that your aim is to bring glory to God while encouraging the person you are talking to take a step closer to relating to him. You do not need to cover the whole Bible in one session
     Be interested in them as a person: ask questions
     Complaining about the festive season: too busy, too expensive, family difficulties. How can you share the good news if you are talking about how bad it all is!
     Overemphasising the secular aspects of the season. Don't ignore them, just don't let them appear to be central!
     Becoming so busy that you don't have time to reach out to others
     Making this the only time you share with people. If you are a closet Christian at other times then your witness will be less effective. It is, after all, a religious time of the year and it is not unusual for many in the community to become more religious. What a great time of the year to start and develop the habit of sharing with others!
     At this time of the year "random acts of kindness" are going to be greatly appreciated, so explore what you can do for others, for example cook a meal, look after children, ironing. As a parish, be on the look out for struggling families or run a crèche for playgroup mums one morning while they shop or offer one meal in the lead up to Christmas
     When sending cards think about the card you buy (mission society, charity, Christian cards) and what you write on them   
     When buying gifts consider making something and letting people know that you have bought a really useful gift through TEAR   
     If you send out an annual letter include your church activities in it in a natural way   
     When someone wishes you "Merry Christmas", think about how you reply, for example "Christmas blessings to you", "Thank you, it is such an exciting time", so that it creates surprise at a different response   
     When decorating think about the symbols you use, for example a nativity scene as a centrepiece on the Christmas table. Avoid excessively secular images. However don't be afraid to enjoy Christmas: wear Christmas jewellery, and have parties, but don't allow those things to become the "reason for the season"   
     Ask people what they do at Christmas, and what does it mean for them. Not only will you understand where they are at but they may well ask you about your Christmas   
     Acknowledge to your friends that Christmas is an important spiritual time of the year for you so you also like to celebrate that aspect with family and friends   
     Invite the neighbours' kids to a birthday party for Jesus. You can introduce the Christmas story and help the parents at the same time by taking their children off their hands for a short time   
     Have a neighbourhood Christmas party and share favourite Christmas memories or traditions or ask people to bring along a gift for a local charity, giving a reason for the party and a way to share   
     Invite people to a special Christmas service and then to your place for supper or lunch. Perhaps church groups can use their break-ups as an outreach. Does your church have a ladies' group that could meet and make their break up in November a special Christmas celebration with entertainment?   
      At this time of the year there will be lots of fringe people visiting the church. Include the main dates for the following year in the notice sheet, make sure the building and grounds are clean and tidy, make sure the notice board is exciting and updated, perhaps even with dates of when groups are starting back, and photos of the past year.   

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