Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Growing a Church: One example of what we do...

The summer months are often considered a ‘down time’ in church life. At King’s we increasingly use those weeks for preparation to make sure that we have a strong start to the church year in September and what comes beyond. While the rest of us are in summer holiday mode there is a certain group at King’s who already have Christmas in mind!

Christmas, and more particularly our Christmas Carol Services, provides a mega opportunity to reach out to our local communities! Planning, preparing and rehearsing for the eight Carol Services we currently put on over that weekend in December goes on throughout the autumn, even while we are seeking to build momentum with the start of the church year in September. Last year we saw 2800 people come through our doors over that single weekend, many of them visitors.

Thousands of Christmas Carol Service flyers will be printed – this is our predominant way of advertising the Carol Services.  They are given out to all our small groups who will deliver them in their localities and we have them available on Sundays when people will take them to give to friends and family.  There will also be a big poster on the front of the building and we will deliver flyers to homes in the area – that covers our advertising. 

One of our former elders was a School Governor at a local primary school - it provided an arena in which to reach out to others. Every year, as Chair of Governors, he sent all the governors an invitation to our Carol Services. These went with a card saying ‘thanks for all your support this year and here’s an invitation to the Carol Service’.  At that level it’s sowing.  It’s surprising just how many people who are now involved in the life of King’s made their first visit to King’s to a Carol Service.

Because we get an increasing number attending our multiple Carol Services we plan them carefully. There is a carefully thought out theme and although we will do one or two other songs, it’s predominantly traditional carols.  We’ll have a drama and Bible readings and I will speak. At this event we’re not asking for responses - we’re just presenting Jesus; we’re just presenting the Christmas story and there would be an invitation to attend the next Alpha course programmed to take place just after the New Year. The Carol Service is not a revolutionary event in terms of presentation, it’s the traditional approach people like – singing ‘Hark the herald…’ is what they expect - and that’s what we do. We also aim to put on a high quality event with great music so we will have an orchestra as well as our usual band and a choir of brightly-dressed, smiling King’s people!