Invite Someone to Church this Christmas Eve!
November 26, 2022, 1:00 PM

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

The first thing I want to share with you this month is by far the most important. Invite someone to come to church with you this Christmas Eve. If you are reading this and are a church worker, make an announcement every Sunday encouraging your members to do this. Write a newsletter article about it. Detail your Christmas Eve service(s) so that your members can answer any questions of what it will be like. If you are a pastor, give a short preview or synopsis of your Christmas Eve sermon. Make this information visible and available on your church website and social media accounts. If you are a layperson and are reading this, ask someone to join you on Christmas Eve for a church service. Encourage other members of your congregation to do so as well. Whether it be family that rarely comes (or stopped coming), a coworker, a (new) neighbor, a young family, some old friends, it does not matter who, invite them all! Does your congregation do a Christmas music or choir concert as well? Invite people to that. But – and this is key – make sure to invite the unchurched as well.

There is a lot of dissatisfaction and anxiety in the world right now. Nobody is happy with the current political landscape. Inflation seems out of control. Rural communities have been hit especially hard. Single parenthood has never been higher. Domestic abuse rates are also at all-time highs. Not to mention there seems no slowing down of the opioid and meth epidemics affecting our great state. Add in the stress of the holidays and there are so many people feeling utterly hopeless right now. In other words, Oklahoma is decidedly not doing “fine” despite what our state song says.

To all that here comes Christmas. What is the message of Christmas? “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!” Immanuel, God with us! We are not abandoned. There is a great and mighty Hope. God the Father sees us and sent Jesus – the second person of the Trinity – to come and rescue us. The Redeemer came! “Peace on Earth and good will toward men!” proclaimed the angels that holy night (Luke 2).

No more let sins and sorrows grow
nor thorns infest the ground;
he comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

Joy to the World, stz. 3

Now, more than ever, our neighbors need to hear the message that gives the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. Invite someone to church this Christmas Eve.

As the old Monty Python skits used to say, “now for something completely different.” Let us continue our talk about effective and meaningful outreach. Last month we started to broach the question as to what makes outreach effective. We recognized that outreach is not about an immediate ROI of seeing more people in the pews on Sunday. Outreach is not measured by numerical growth. It is contextual. Not everything works everywhere. Outreach and inreach must be balanced. We must take care of the souls already within the ark of the church while also reaching out to the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It also means to not be afraid to try something new. And, understanding the community around us, the needs of the community, and how we might be able to meet one or more of those needs. We ended with me teasing this month’s article in which we will talk about how effective outreach provides ongoing activities and how members can start to get involved.

Organizations do not build relationships. Businesses know this, which is why good businesses put an emphasis on hiring good employees and keeping them happy. You do not connect with the business, but with the face of the employee. If you walk into a retail store and all the employees are rude, frowning, grumpy, and unhappy – chances are you are going to leave that store reluctant to wanting to come back. But, if you walk into a retail store and the employees are happy, seem genuinely pleased to see you, are helpful and kind, you will want to come back to that store, even if prices might be a little higher than others. People connect to people, not entities.

The same is true for churches. I have been to churches where I was not greeted by a single person (even the designated greeters/ushers) for the first six weeks. I had to go and request a bulletin and was treated to annoyed look while the greeters talked amongst themselves. Nobody around me in the pew smiled, said “hi,” or otherwise acknowledged my existence. If I was not supposed to be I would not have continued going. On the other hand, I have walked into a church of a completely different demographic than every other I had been at just to visit a new LCMS congregation. I was out of my comfort zone, and I stuck out like a sore thumb. But I got the biggest smile walking in. I had people walking across the sanctuary to welcome me. I had a person pray for me that I did not know from Adam and even though I had just met this man I felt like he cared about me. If I could, I would have attended that church every Sunday.

People connect with people. Our members need to know how to build relationships. “Relationship building requires the commitment and involvement of members who are willing to invest themselves in the people we are able to make connections with. Developing and nurturing relationships with the nonchurched people in our community is a critical part of effective outreach…While relationship building is slow and hard work, it is often the most enriching and rewarding part of outreach.”[1] “There are several things that keep our members from building relationships with nonchurched people. One of the most common is that they are not properly equipped to build new relationships…They need training and support to learn how to start and develop relationships with the nonchurch people we make connections with.”[2] Which is where the Evangelism Executive of the Oklahoma District comes in, part of my role is to help our members learn how to make relationships. If you are interested in hosting a training on Everyone His Witness – which teaches people how to do this – please reach out to me ( Or, I can direct you to other resources that can help in teaching people how to make relationships.

The other thing about relationships is that they need to be broadened from one or a few to many in the congregation. While it is extremely important for visitors to meet the pastor, if that is the only relationship connection made the likelihood of that individual or family staying long-term is low. Church workers leave, retire, die, etc. “Relying on a few people to build relationships not only discourages members from starting and developing relationships with nonchurched people but it also creates tenuous bonds between nonchurched people and our congregation. Instead of new people strengthening their connection with the congregation, they end up building a strong bong with the person with whom they have the relationship. If something happens to end that relationship, the nonchurched person’s connection to the congregation is often lost. Because many congregations leave relationship building to the pastor, this often happens when the congregation’s pastor retires, takes a new call, or passes away.”[3] We often joke of the German heritage of the LCMS and how we do not often smile, etc. This is a stereotype we need to break. We need to teach our people how to make relationships with those who come in contact with the church.

I know I also promised to talk about how outreach is not just one-time big events (annual craft fairs, VBS, etc.). But this article is already long. We will take that up in December. And remember, INVITE SOMEONE TO CHRISTMAS EVE!

In Christ,

Pastor Daniel Ross


[1] Mark A. Wood, Meaningful Outreach: An Essential Guide for Churches (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2022), 39-30.

[2] Ibid, 32.

[3] Ibid, 32.