Using Christmas for the Gospel
How early is too early to mention Christmas? If you asked your colleagues this question, you’d probably start a small office debate with everyone throwing in their opinion. Everyone seems to differ on what they think but at the end of the day the answer to this question doesn’t really matter - it’s just a question of preference.
How early is too early to think about using Christmas for the gospel? Now this is a question more directed to Christians and the answer is ‘it’s never too early!’
'No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.' John 1:18 (ESV)
Christmas provides a wonderful opportunity to speak of Jesus, of who He is and why He came to the world. Though Jesus is not on the agenda for most of our colleagues, it’s not too hard to bring Him into conversation at this time of year - after all this is a festival about Him!
We’d love to encourage you to think creatively about how to use this Christmas for the gospel in your office and to that end, we interviewed a few City workers to ask them what they’ve done in the past. We hope this will get you thinking about what you could do this Christmas.
1. City Carol Services
An easy way of helping your colleagues here the gospel would be to make use of the carol services here at St. Helen’s. For more info go here.
We asked Joy Henshaw from EBRD to share with us how and why she uses the carol services.
‘Every year when the dates are published I will start thinking of which service to attend and who to invite to come along with her. I pray and then draft a warm and inviting email and then I pray again just before I send it! I’ve found it useful to use an outlook calendar invite instead of an email so that you can send reminders to your colleagues. Try not to overlook anyone in the office, invite as many people as possible - you don’t know who God is at work in!
I then make sure I have some seats set aside at St. Helen’s so I know we have seats ready - it is less embarrassing for your colleagues if you don’t have to look for a seat.
It’s been encouraging to see some individuals joining me to St. Helen’s lunchtime services after coming to a carol service!
I understand the eternal consequences of the gospel and I don’t want my colleagues to go to eternity without Christ.'
If you think it would be helpful for your company to receive a formal invitation from St. Helen's Church to take part in the carol services, please contact Wes (email@example.com)
Click here to watch a video of James Widdows sharing how he uses the Christmas period for the gospel.
2. Office Christmas Lunch
David Constable has been putting on Christmas lunches for his colleagues since 1993. We asked him to share how and why he does this.
‘I usually invite people for lunch or dinner after one of the St. Helen’s carol services. Some years it has been curry and carols, other years it has been Christmas lunch in the Lloyd’s canteen. During the lunch, I will usually give a short speech at the start, maybe reiterating the message from the carol service and I will let people know that I am available to chat things through if people are interested.
I’ve found over the years that people are never embarrassed about celebrating Christmas and so inviting people to a lunch and carols is really helpful to see who is interested in finding out more. It’s also a great opportunity to work together with other Christians to share the gospel with those in the office.
This year I’ll hopefully be using either the Insurance carol service or the evening carol services and will offer one to ones with those who are interested to find out more.’
We asked another City Christian for how he has used Christmas lunches and he gave the following advice:
‘Invite your immediate circle of friends or colleagues (in or outside of your office) to a Christmas lunch thatyouorganise at a reasonably-priced restaurant.
At that lunch -
1.Give them a small (non-christian) christmas gift [value £3 say - notelets, biscuits, ground coffee, something useful - it is possible! -with another enclosure such as a Luke's Gospel, with your own introduction personalised. Sorry if the presents sound twee - but do something!
2. Prepare a Christmas Quiz (Bible and non-Bible) during the lunch - or ask for invitees to name and discuss their favourite carol
3. Suggest that you might meet this group for lunch after Christmas during the following year - say once a month on a friendship basis (and don't do anything Christian for the next lunch). Use following lunches to invite people to lunchtime services or guest events in future.
4. Pray for them that their eyes might be opened
5. Ask the Lord that you might love them for their own sake, as neighbours, and not as conversion units or statistics’
3. Office Carol Services
In many offices across the City, Christians put on their own Christmas carol service. We asked Paul and Angela Wong to share about how and why they do this at Linklaters.
'For the past two years, the Linklaters Christian Fellowship has been able to organise a Christmas Carol Service in the firm’s auditorium preaching the gospel! We praise God for the privilege of being able to invite our colleagues (there are more than 2000 of them in the building!) to hear the gospel and for opportunity to do it again this year. There are lots of benefits to having a workplace carol service, including: (i) colleagues may be more inclined to attend the event as it doesn’t require them to leave the building and brave the cold; (ii) colleagues of a different faith may feel more comfortable heading to our auditorium than into a church building; (iii) colleagues (believers or non-believers) can get involved in the musical items; and (iv) it may be cheaper than hiring out a church.
Despite being held in a modern venue, our carol service itself is quite traditional. We have readings telling the bible story (from the Fall to the salvation provided to us by Jesus’ death) by Christians from different departments and levels of seniority (post room, secretaries, partners, paralegals). This can bring more people along from those departments or where they know the reader. There are familiar carols to sing and a short talk on a bible passage at the end. We had a violin item and a choir item last year, which isn’t necessary but can be a selling point on the posters (as people were interested in the other talents of their colleagues!) Not all colleagues agreed on the teaching of the bible, but it does present opportunities to confront colleagues head on about the things we believe in and to meet other Christians in the firm that we still had not met!
On the practical side of things, we started booking rooms and booking the speaker (Rico Tice) in the summer (around August time) – there is no harm getting in early! We picked a date for the service earlier on in December as people start leaving for holidays/getting busy later. This year the Linklaters Choir will sing for us, but if your Christian Fellowship will also be singing then it is a good idea to start practising early (e.g. from the Summer) as it can be hard to get a slot in everyone’s diary. Think about costs of supplying mince pies and refreshments like mulled wine and whether there is any diversity budget provided by your workplace for this, otherwise, costs will be something to pray about and organise earlier on as well. Don’t forget to advertise early! Our building managers agreed to let us put posters in the lifts (which proved quite effective) and we got each department secretary to send the email invitation to their departments (as this probably avoided the approvals we would have otherwise needed for a firm-wide email). Please pray that our colleagues would attend this year’s service and we would continue to hold a faithful carol service (rather than a carol concert) in Linklaters.'
If you'd be interested in organising a similar gospel-centred carol service in your office and would like help to get it going, please contact Wes (firstname.lastname@example.org). We'd love to help!
4. Be Creative
As good as carol services and lunches are, they aren't the only things that can be done! We'd love Christians in the City to think creatively about how to take gospel opportunities during Christmas. Other things City Christians have done in previous years include:
- organising a Christmas dialogue event
- sending Christmas cards with a personal message about Christmas and a Bible verse included
- giving out Christmas tracts