How to Reach the Unchurched this Christmas

Clint Rogers


Clint Rogers


December 13, 2022

How to Reach the Unchurched this Christmas

The birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth forever marked human history. If you’ve been in the church world for a while now, the wonder and awe of this story can so often be missed or overlooked. 

God Himself entered the world through risky, ancient childbirth

God humbled Himself and took on our very humanity

God fulfilled the prophecies that were spoken of Him in generations past

This event has changed the course of every human life and made a way for us to experience salvation and reconciliation with God. This story is not just another fairytale we skirt past, it is a miraculous story of hope and joy. This is the story of Christmas.

In our world, we have a major shortage of joy. We have been rocked to the core the past 2.5 years specifically as we’ve endured the uncertainty of a worldwide pandemic. But this time of trial didn’t just cause new problems, it also revealed the problems that already existed underneath the surface. 

It’s safe to say that this Christmas season, many of us are seeking a glimmer of hope amid much darkness. 

Something we must constantly remember is that not everyone in this world carries the light of Jesus in their hearts. Many walk around blindly without the peace, love, and joy He brings to those who believe.

How can we reach those without hope this season? How can we touch the lives of the unchurched and encourage them this Christmas? 

First off, let’s talk about this particular audience, the “unchurched.” This term is quite broad, but it is generally used to describe those who do not consistently attend church. They may be atheists, skeptics, or agnostics. They may have even professed to be a Christian at some prior point but have since stepped away from the faith community. Overall, they do not call a church their home and wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves dedicated Christians.

The unchurched are among some of the most difficult types of people to reach for Jesus. Many carry hurt, doubt, and even church abuse in their histories. Some of them just don’t find a need for God, so they don’t see any sort of value in attending church at all.

Above all other tactics, the most important thing we need to reach the unchurched is simple: it is love! We can bombard someone with invites galore and even offer words of encouragement, but nothing quite cuts to the hearts of the unchurched than genuine care and compassion.

They are not just a number among the 8 billion people on earth: they are someone that Jesus died for. They matter to Him. God loves them. And if we say we love Jesus, we must love them too.

Love is our starting point to reaching the unchurched, but what else can we do practically that will make an impact on this group of people this holiday season?

  1. Consider the whole community, not just the church

No matter where people find themselves on the “Christianity spectrum”, the majority of those in your community do celebrate Christmas in some way or another. To reach those who don’t typically step into your churches the other 51 weeks of the year, consider gearing your Christmas events toward the community and not just your existing congregation.

A great way to do this is to offer an event for the community that is not faith exclusive. This allows your congregation to be the hands of feet of Jesus and reach out to people at the event who they may not know from church. It also gives the unchurched a chance to witness the type of community you have.

This small glimpse of your kindness and welcoming attitude can be a game changer for those who are on the fence about church. Your smile can serve as the perfect invitation!

  1. Highlight tradition

There is something about Christmastime that evokes feelings of nostalgia. The smell of Christmas cookies baking in the oven, the warmth of the fire, and the beauty of a winter snowfall. One other thing that stirs up these feel-good moments is the musical traditions that come along with Christmas.

Whether you are a lifelong Christian or a skeptic, the carols, hymns, and songs surrounding Christmas have a certain appeal and beauty. One way to reach the unchurched is to leverage these age-old traditions. A night of caroling and even including some older hymns in your Christmas service are two simple ways to do this. 

  1. Hold multiple services

Christmas Eve is the second most attended church service (next to Easter) and is bound to be a busy season at your church. Those who don’t typically attend church make an exception for these major holidays and tend to come along with their families or friends. 

Because your Christmas service is bound to be jam packed, it is a great idea to offer multiple service times. Not only does this lighten up the room in attendance a bit, but it also gives people multiple opportunities to make it to church. 

  1. Leverage social media

Social media is one of the best ways to get the word out about all the things your church is up to this Christmas season. There is no doubt there are plenty of people online that are searching for hope this holiday season; you have the opportunity to meet them with this hope online.

Here are a few ways you can leverage social media for Christmas:

  • Create a Christmas service Facebook event
  • Share an Advent calendar on your social pages
  • Post a video of your staff wishing your community a Merry Christmas
  • Share Scripture, hymn lyrics, and short quotes about the Christmas story
  • Advertise your church services times through Facebook or Instagram ads

There are many other ways you can use your social media presence to share regarding your Christmas service. Get creative with it!

  1. Don’t forget the value of a personal invitation

We all have people in our lives who don’t walk with God daily. They are our coworkers, next-door neighbors, and even family members. We know their stories and see the hope they are living without and desperately searching for.

But the Christmas season seems to do something magical as it opens us up to the possibility of hope and joy in the world. Those around us are all secretly searching for this hope and we can give them that hope. 

A simple invitation can seriously change someone’s life forever. It doesn’t have to be super eloquent or anything, a simple “hey, would you like to go come to Christmas service with me? It’s going to be a wonderful time” will suffice. Never say “no” for someone else. Maybe the one thing that has prevented them from attending church is that no one had ever asked them to go!

Those who are unchurched are seeking light this holiday season. Although they may not be too fond of God (or even believe in Him at all), He is seeking them out. God longs to draw those far from Him back home.

This holiday season, we pray that there are more unchurched people than ever attending your Christmas services! We also pray that they may come to know this wonderful God who has drawn near to us and truly changed the world.

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