According to Rev. Jonathan Hein, coordinator of WELS Congregational Services, Christmas Eve is the #1 worship service that unchurched and dechurched people are willing to attend. A new synodwide outreach campaign called C18 is now available from WELS Congregational Services to help congregations and individuals with this huge outreach opportunity.
The campaign’s theme, “A Light in the darkness,” is based on Isaiah 9:2: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” The overarching goal of the program? To reach one million people with the gospel message during the Christmas season.
In order to reach one million people, Hein says congregations and their members need to work together synodwide. “Our job is to simply share the gospel as zealously as we can. We leave the results up to the Holy Spirit,” he says. “However, if together we would achieve the goal of reaching one million souls, and if the Holy Spirit would bless that effort at a similar rate he has for past programs, it would mean about 1,500 people and their families would join a WELS congregation as a result of the C18 program.”
Every commission from Congregational Services is providing royalty-free resources to help congregations and members with this effort:
- The Commission on Evangelism is developing promotional materials such as postcards, banners, and Facebook posts. Congregations can order customizable postcards with the C18 theme from Echt Printing. WELS Congregational Services is offering an outreach grant of up to $150 off the postcard order to the first 200 congregations that participate. The deadline to order is Oct. 21.
The Commission on Evangelism is also providing a Bible study related to the new outreach movie To the Ends of the Earth. The study, which will discuss how to witness and share your faith, can help prepare members to invite their unchurched friends, relatives, acquaintances, and neighbors to Christmas Eve services.
- The Commission on Worship is providing worship resources, including worship plans, several liturgy options, sermon helps, service folders, and newly commissioned music. The commission is not just providing materials for Christmas Eve; it also has produced a series for Advent called He Comes, Bearing Gifts.
- The Commission on Discipleship is producing family Advent devotions, with a special emphasis on training and encouraging families to reach out to the unchurched during the holiday season.
- The Commission on Lutheran Schools is providing WELS schools with evangelism training materials for children and teens.
- The Commission on Special Ministries is developing supplementary materials for the Christmas for Kids program developed by Northwestern Publishing House to allow congregations to offer a service for children with special needs.
- The Commission on Congregational Counseling is providing materials to help congregations coordinate this outreach effort as well as helps for following up on contacts after the holiday season.
Almost all of the materials will be offered as free downloads from the WELS Congregational Services website, welscongregationalservices.net/c18. Some materials are available now; others will be provided in the coming weeks. Pastors and interested laypeople should sign up now to receive updates, which will include notices when new materials are posted online as well as planning tips and timelines to carry out the program successfully.
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WELS churches and schools featured in their local media.