We are fast approaching the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. I know it’s cliché but the truth is, they really will be here before we know it.
This season always provides great occasions for outreach, but I think as we continue to deal with the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic, churches have unique opportunities this year to meet needs within their communities.
While not exhaustive by any means, here are a few ways you might consider reaching out to your community as we approach the most wonderful time of the year!
1. Serve new or expecting moms through your local pregnancy center
Local pregnancy centers often are on the front lines of encouraging scared, expectant moms to choose life for their child. In many cases, the mothers often make this decision without any help from the child’s father or from other family. Christian-based pregnancy centers also often offer Christ-centered parenting classes and other resources for young families.
Visit with the director of your local pregnancy center and ask how your church can come alongside them and help with some needs during the holiday season. Even the smallest churches with small budgets can provide a couple of boxes of diapers, clothes and toys for a young family. You might even get a gift certificate to a local clothing store to help a new mom buy new clothes for herself. Even these small items can make a big impact.
2. Provide meals around Thanksgiving and Christmas
I would advise against advertising this as a “come one, come all” service, but by working with the local school system or counseling centers, you may be able to provide some much-needed food during the holidays. I’ve seen churches do everything from giving gift certificates to the local grocery store to providing a full Thanksgiving meal, complete with a turkey and all the side dishes.
This can be an enormous blessing to low-income families in your community who already are strapped for cash during the bustle of the holidays.
Note: In these first two cases, privacy laws may not allow you to interact directly with the families. If that’s the case, you can drop the gifts off at the center or the school and provide a gospel tract and a simple note like: “These gifts are provided by [Your Church’s Name]. We pray that God would immensely bless your family this Thanksgiving (or Christmas).”
3. Don’t forget your homebound and nursing home folks!
Many communities may still have have restrictions on nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. However, you may very well be able to go Christmas caroling on some of your homebound folks’ front lawns and bless them with some delicious baked goods. In many cases, these precious saints may not have seen their own family in more than a year, so a few minutes could warm their hearts and be a simple reminder that God (and your church) care deeply for them.
As I said at the beginning, this is in no way an exhaustive list of all the opportunities that exist for outreach to your community during the holidays. Perhaps your church will use one of the ideas on this list, or maybe it will help spark your own ideas for some creative ways to share the hope of the gospel during this season.
Published October 22, 2021