The Rev. Dr. Gary Nicolosi, writing in the Anglican Journal, offers his ideas about Christmas as an evangelistic opportunity. Below are his suggestions:
Offer a variety of services and music.
Limit your services to an hour.
Think outside the box in scheduling services.
Increasingly, churches are holding Christmas Eve services at 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon to accommodate older people who do not want to drive in the evening. Afternoon worship also meets the needs of families and singles who will be away on Christmas Eve and unable to attend worship. In my former parish, our 2:00 pm Christmas Eve Eucharist had close to 300 in attendance. Another parish had over 200 at its 3:00 pm service. An early afternoon service is a nice complement to a 5:00 pm Family Service and the late night Christmas Choral Eucharist. Incidentally, attendance continues to decline at late night services. Churches would be wiser to put their resources into offering a high quality 7:00 or 8:00 pm service. If a late night service is still preferred, hold it no later than 10:00 pm.
Market your services aggressively.
Place the times and description of your services on the parish web site. Know the people you want to reach and then target those people in your advertising.
Fully print out the worship service in the bulletin.
If you don’t have overhead screens, you need to print out the entire service.
Be warm and welcoming to visitors.
Be sensitive to the non-baptized ...In my parish, we print these words in the bulletin: “All who seek God are welcome to the Lord’s Table to receive the Bread and Wine of Christ’s Body and Blood. Even if you do not seek God, you are still welcome because God seeks you. Come and hold in your hand and taste on your lips the love which we cannot comprehend.”
Never talk about money at a holiday service.
Consider offering open baptism.
The sermon needs to be joyful, positive–and brief.
Read all his suggestions here and add your thoughts in the comments.