Targeted invitation seems to work well. Why not invite your family contacts to just one event? Church of England research showed that traditional nativity or crib services are the most likely service baptism families will want to be part of, but any of these ideas may work well too.
- The first event in your Christmas calendar might well be a fete – and it’s a great time to invite families and make them feel part of the church community. It’s a good place for toddlers and children as well – especially if you have child-friendly activities.
- Advent gives an opportunity to join in with the countdown – and help to explore the meaning in new ways: Download and print out this star-themed Advent calendar which offers prayers and other activities to try at home.
- Here’s another inexpensive way to involve families in Advent, using an Advent Star.
- You might like to consider involving families in a Posada – the journey of Mary and Joseph round the parish brings people into contact with one another. Posada is another innovative way to share the Christmas story over Advent. Here are details of how two parishes in Lichfield diocese adapt it in their parishes. And in the Chase Benefice (Oxford Diocese), a storybook was specially written to go with the nativity characters.
- Here’s one account of a crib service which was developed to help children understand the Christmas story in a deeper way, from the Spiritual Child Network.
- There could be a number of ways to use a bulk supply of ‘Real Advent Calendar’ to help share the Christmas story – use as gifts/giveaways at fetes, Sunday school, toddler groups or wherever you’ll meet families with young children.
- Space for the stressed and worn out – create an evening in church for the grown-ups just to come and sit in a sacred space, listen to quiet music, perhaps appreciate Christmas art, read Christmas poems, hear Bible readings and enjoy a drink.
- This short, humorous presentation is ideal for a Christmas service which includes young children.
- Here’s a very simple ‘countdown’ prayer idea using the characters from the nativity.
The national #followthestar campaign has successfully supported pre-Christmas and Christmas Day services across the country, which are some of the most well-attended in the church calendar. For some families, it may be the only time they visit their local church in the year.
In 2020, resources are being trialled in some church churches to help them invite families to come back ‘Beyond the stable’ on or near 5th January (Epiphany) and to ‘Share the Light’ on or near 2nd February (Candlemas). Read the blog that explains all about it.
Download this family-friendly service outline for use during the time (Word document). EpiphanyCandlemasServiceOutline
- Printed Christmas-themed cards to invite families to a specific service
- A huge choice of Christingle resources at the Children’s Society
- Pilot resources for the ‘Beyond the Stable’