Approximately 70 percent of WELS congregations participated in the synodwide Christmas outreach program known as C18. WELS Congregational Services created myriad materials for congregations to use to encourage members to reach out to the unchurched and to promote the theme “A Light in the darkness.”
“When we began C18,” says Rev. Jon Hein, coordinator of WELS Congregational Services, “we said our goal was ‘to reach’ one million souls prior to and on Christmas Eve. I realize ‘reach’ is a nebulous term. That was intentional. It is impossible for congregations to track how many people a member invites to Christmas Eve. So it is hard to quantify. What I can report is that at least 1.2 million ‘A Light in the darkness’ Christmas Eve postcards were shared.”
Hein also notes that through follow-up surveys, he has discovered ancillary benefits to this Christmas outreach effort. One of those benefits is a renewed focus on evangelism in some congregations.
One survey respondent commented, “I have prayed for years for God to make me bold enough to share the gospel. I have now done this . . . several weeks in a row for C18 and have had very positive results. I plan to continue this method of inviting neighbors to my church year-round for different events.”
Another said, “I don’t know if we had more visitors than normal [attend our Christmas Eve service]. I can say our people were excited about trying to invite their friends and family to church. I think they will continue to do that, which will have a longer lasting impact than can be measured by one worship service.”
In addition to evangelism materials, Congregational Services offered worship resources as well as family Advent devotions.
As one WELS member wrote, “I loved that C18 focused on reaching unbelievers. But I also love that it stressed feeding our children with God’s Word.”
After hearing from WELS members about the blessings that this Christmas program offered, Congregational Services is now planning resources for C19.
To read Hein’s full report about C18, visit welscongregationalservices.net/c18-our-christmas-efforts.