Churches across the world go to great lengths to get as many people as possible through their doors in December to hear the gospel but that normally means the schedule for December is chock-full. Unsurprisingly, it’s hard for many of us to see beyond the end of the month!
But before we get sucked into the Christmas run-up, it’s wise to think intentionally about Christmas follow-up. How will you invite those who come to Christmas events to keep exploring the claims of Christianity into the new year?
Well, we think we have the answer: Hope Explored, a three-week evangelistic series based in Luke’s Gospel.
Here are four reasons it might be what you’re looking for as your church’s Christmas follow-up.
1. It’s short
Let’s be honest, most people don’t come to carol services or Christmas events because they’re intentionally investigating Christianity — they’re there to enjoy the festive atmosphere, give a nod to tradition, and belt out a favourite carol or two. To ask them to invest seven weeks of their life investigating the life of Jesus on a course like Christianity Explored can sound like a tall order. With only three sessions, Hope Explored is an “easier” invite to the guests we get through our doors at Christmas.
Once they’ve been along to Hope Explored, our hope and prayer is that they’ll be eager to keep investigating with a longer course such as Christianity Explored or Life Explored.
2. It’s hopeful
There are few emotions more powerful than hope. We all want it, but these days, between wars, climate change, and the cost of living crisis, real hope often feels hard to come by. In the gospel, there is a message of hope that the human heart is crying out for!
The hope theme means that this series is easy to tie into your Christmas services. In fact, the whole series is shaped around showing how Jesus fulfils the four titles in Isaiah 9:6: “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” You could plan to talk on Isaiah 9, or on the theme of hope, in your Christmas services, and then show the trailer for Hope Explored at the end. In the Leader’s Area of the Christianity Explored Ministries website, you can find a talk outline based on Isaiah 9 from former Training Director, Craig Dyer.
While the run-up to Christmas is often full of treats, January can be a pretty dreary time of year. So once the Christmas magic has faded and the grey reality of January dawns, Hope Explored will still scratch where people are itching.
3. It’s flexible
Hope Explored works great online via Zoom and in person, in groups or one-to-one with a friend. The material was road-tested by dozens of churches in various contexts, so whatever your church’s size or situation, Hope Explored can work for you.
4. It’s full of Jesus
… with a little bit of Rico Tice. In three sessions, he introduces guests to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel, teaching the Bible with all the warmth, humour and clarity that you’d expect from him.
The series helps people to see Jesus walk off the pages of Scripture and meet with them wherever they are in life as they look closely at his ministry on earth and see the richness of his offer for eternal life.