You may think of dinner around the table, Mom’s cookies, a football game, and off-key carols when you think of your best Christmas memories; but admit it, you like the gifts too. We all enjoy the mystery behind the bow, the thoughtfulness of the gift, and the love that offered it.

Here are 5 gifts that pastors and staff can give each guest who visits their ministry this holiday.


Just as each gift is wrapped to entice the receiver to tear open its package, decorate your entrance with the sounds of the season. Play Christmas music outside, in the lobby and sanctuary prior to your gathering. These musical notes will embrace everyone in earshot, wrapping them in the beloved and familiar warmth of Christmas, wetting their appetites for what is coming. It can’t hurt to add a little festivity to your website as well.


Make sure your newcomers have what they need to get where you want them to go. Take notice of your signage in the parking lot, childcare, bathrooms and sanctuary. Ask greeters to stand in front of the info booth instead of behind it. Rearrange your coat rack and traffic patterns as needed. Name tags or lanyards are extremely helpful to distinguish staff and volunteers from guests. These simple fixes allow each newcomer to find what and who they need to guide them and care for them well.


Everyone wants to be home for the holidays. In a world where superficial cheer and quick care runs ramped, give them a priceless gift. Look them in the eye with a smile and count to three. Be happy they chose your church and tell them that. Be present in this moment. A sincere and meaningful welcome is a true gift.


Shepherds, a manger, a stable, and swaddling clothes do more than set the scene of our nativity story; they placed the Son of God in an extremely vulnerable setting. If He was willing to go there, we should be willing as well. The vulnerability of pastors and staff enable our church to see us as we are – broken beings justified and sanctified by the infant who was born to die. What a beautiful introduction to the salvation message. 


Regular attendees, as well as new ones, might be in a hurry to get on to their next event, but it only takes a minute for someone to offer them a personal individual prayer. Prayer, lifted up on behalf of others, even if only a moment, can do wonders for their relationship with others and with Jesus. It’s a solid reminder of who this season is actually about. Pray for their family gatherings, for peace, and for them to know the Reason for the season in a new way. 


A present is a symbol of the relationship between the giver and the receiver. It varies from funny to romantic, sentimental to extravagant. In the same way, your time, your care, your grace, is a representation of God’s gift to them – a gift of ultimate sacrifice and eternal blessing. Love them well this season, so they can see Jesus in you.

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Liz Woods
Elizabeth, her husband, Arthur, and her Siberian Husky Jadis, live in an old farmhouse in Lancaster County. She speaks to women and youth, encouraging believers to jump in the deep end with Jesus. She is writing her first book chronicling God's goodness and sovereignty through a recent failed adoption. She and her husband continue to advocate for the vulnerable as they pursue growing their family through adoption.
Liz Woods

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