10 Ways Your Church Can Serve the Community This Christmas
Most people look forward to Christmas as a time for family, love, celebrations, and Jesus. But for some people, Christmas is a time of loneliness, despair, and stress. Churches are here to do God’s work on Earth; how is your church helping the community?
Keep the community spirit at the forefront of everything your church does this Christmas, and support those who need it. How do churches help the community? From feeding hungry families with a community Christmas dinner to looking after kids to take the pressure off parents parents, set your church to help by doing some of these ten things this December.
1. One-For-One Offering
Raise awareness of your church while giving back to the community by hosting a 1-for-1 Christmas community service this December. Open your doors and welcome everyone in, and promise to donate $1 for every person in attendance. This way, people with limited funds can give back just by showing up, and you might gain attendees that stick around into the New Year.
2. Community Cook-Out
Everyone gets hungry, and the holidays are an expensive time of year. Some people may have to make tough decisions between eating and buying presents for their expectant families. Plan a community cookout that includes everyone in your local area, providing at least one nourishing meal for those who need it. Set it up as a pot-luck dinner Christmas community event, but highlight that bringing a dish is not essential if money is tight.
3. Serve Thy Neighbor
Data collected by HandsOn Connect found that 42% more people sign up to volunteer over the holidays than the rest of the year. While volunteering strictly for the holidays isn’t the best way to help, churches need to make the most of these extra helping hands. Ask local businesses what you can do to assist them, and assign surplus volunteers to these neighborly roles to support community businesses.
4. Host a Food Bank Drive
Urge your congregation to donate nonperishable foods to your church, then deliver them to a local food bank. Leaving the collections on display in your church foyer will encourage people to give more and will visually help you see how much your church has helped. Ask to see if anyone has a brightly colored van or a vehicle that will grab attention, and post it on your social media channels.
5. Toys for Kids in Need
Ask local schools if any families could do with a little extra help and compile a list of children in need and their age groups. Write a list of gifts for the community to supply, and urge congregants to put a smile on a child’s face this Christmas. Wrap these gifts up and deliver them to each home, with the parent's consent to share their address of course!
6. Pay Someone’s Bill
For those looking to share a random act of kindness this Christmas, get in contact with your local water department or an electricity provider. Some people may have been struggling to pay their bills for some time, and risk getting shut off for Christmas. Paying someone’s overdue bill would be a Christmas miracle, enlightening people about the goodness of God in the world.
7. Childcare for Parents
Finding the time to buy gifts, plan meals, see family, and continue working is overwhelming for parents with young children. Transform your church into a community creche for several days in December, with your kids’ ministry workers and church volunteers running it. This way, even kids that don’t normally attend will get a taste of what Christmas is all about!
8. Clean-up the Community
Send a group of volunteers out into the city armed with litter picker sticks and bin bags to clean up as much as possible. Select another team of helpers to rake the fall leaves in neighbors' gardens or shovel snow from driveways. People in the community will be overwhelmed with joy by this simple gesture of goodwill.
9. Help for the Homeless
The holidays are particularly difficult for people who are homeless. They may struggle to find somewhere to eat, sleep, or feel safe throughout this period, things that most of us take for granted. Prioritize support for these people who have been dealt an unfair hand in life by promoting homeless charities like The Salvation Army. You could even host soup kitchen cookouts.
10. Anonymous Support Boxes
Asking for help directly is challenging for many people as pride gets in the way. Start an initiative that involves packing shoeboxes filled with Christmas essentials and an anonymous pickup point for those who need it. Fill these boxes with things like food coupons, discount codes, warm gloves, and a heartwarming book. Follow the seven-rule if you aren’t sure what to include, and ask local businesses if they would be willing to participate.
How Do Churches Help the Community
Communities caring at Christmas is a beautiful thing, and volunteers help this happen. If you don’t have enough, try some of these recruitment strategies and mobilize those who want to make a difference. How churches help the community is down to you as a church leader or local volunteer, so do everything you can to make a difference. How can the church serve the community? By being there, lending a helping hand, and listening. Your church serving the community this Christmas could be a lifeline for someone who needs it.