Welcome to WELS’ C18 program, an effort to reach one million souls with the gospel prior to and on Christmas Eve. That probably sounds ambitious. Is it?
Think about how many unchurched people you know—friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbors who either do not have faith in Jesus or who do not have a Christian church where that faith is being fed with the true Word of God. How many people is that? Dozens?
Now consider the fact that WELS has well over a third of a million members. (Yes, I’m counting little children, because they can share their faith with friends too!) When you do the math, sharing the gospel with a million people this Christmas seems like a very achievable goal.
What do you need to do to participate? Simple. Sign up. In the weeks between now and Christmas Eve (There aren’t many!) you will receive weekly updates, directing you to various resources available on welscongregationalservices.net and providing both the rationale and spiritual encouragement to use those resources. Here are just some of the resources that will be available:
- Worship folder templates for the Sundays in Advent and Christmas. Using worship folders is a great way to make it easy for guests to follow along in the service. The C18 worship folders contain artwork and music with the copyrights owned by Congregational Services, meaning you can use them for free without any copyright restrictions.
- Evangelism materials for Christmas Eve. The theme for our C18 Christmas Eve Service is A Light in the Darkness. Low-cost outreach postcards are available through echtprinting.com, who can also provide mailing services. Thanks to a generous gift, there is also a $150 credit available to the first 200 WELS congregations that order outreach postcards through Echt Printing. Learn more.
- Training for friendship/invitational witnessing. The WELS evangelism video To the Ends of the Earth includes a Bible study on the mission of the Church. C18 will offer supplementary material that focuses on the easiest type of witnessing there is—invitational.
- Advent devotionals. Where does one get the courage and motivation to witness for Christ? The Holy Spirit, who gives us those gifts through his Word. In the weeks of Advent, WELS online daily devotions will provide that motivation. Printable resources will be made available by the Commission on Discipleship for parents to help them use those online devotions for family worship.
- School resources. C18 will provide options for how to utilize a school children’s service. It will also include training materials to help equip our elementary school children to invite their unchurched friends and their family to Christmas Eve.
- Special-needs ministry. Studies show that most families with special-needs children do not have a church home. Parents believe that the church will not be able to meet the needs of their special-needs child. C18 will include materials to help congregations reach out to families with special-needs kids.
So please sign up to receive those weekly updates.
A final thought. A study by LifeWay Research found that 80% of unchurched adults would seriously consider accepting an invitation, extended by a friend, to attend a Christmas Eve service. Why? Because even the unchurched love the celebration of Christmas. Now, they love it for the wrong reasons: the nostalgia, the decorations, the parties, and gift-giving. The thought of sitting in a candle-lit church on Christmas Eve… the big, beautiful Christmas tree… singing some favorite Christmas carols… Many unchurched individuals would find that invitation appealing. But when they get there, we will give them more than candles and nostalgia. We will tell them that the world is a dark place, and that the darkness exists in each of our hearts. We will also tell them that to pierce that darkness, God took on flesh. We will explain that what they see in the manger is not just a baby. He is Light. We will share law and gospel with one-million souls. Then we will let the Holy Spirit do with our witness whatever he pleases.