The Christmas season provides us with a rich opportunity to foster a greater love for Christ and the lost within students. Yet it is so easy to miss it. Sometimes what seems so obvious just slips by us. We know Christmas is about celebrating the coming of Christ for our salvation, but we can easily take it for granted or assume students get this when we gather or send them out. So regardless of how often your student ministry will meet this December, here are three ways to maximize the opportunity Christmas time provides us.
1. Walk through the Christmas narrative
Perhaps more than ever before, we need to ground student’s faith in God’s Word. Walking through the Christmas narrative provides an opportunity to help students see the big picture of God’s plan of redemption as it unfolds from the promise of an offspring who would conquer in Genesis 3:15 to the birth of Jesus in Gospels (Matthew 1-2; Luke 1-2). Additionally, the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke provide a glimpse of God’s character and the hope of Christ for those who sit in darkness, which opens up opportunities to both encourage students in their faith and challenge them to share it with others. For example, the Christmas narrative shows us a God who is faithful and gracious to keep His promises and it gives us a message to share with those struggling with disappoint and discouragement as they wait for things to be different in their lives.
- Walk through an Advent Guide with your students and make it available to families within your church (some the Village Church Advent Guide and Brainerd Baptist Advent Guide)
- Do a teaching series on Matthew 1-2 or Luke 1-2. We are using The First Days of Jesus by Andreas Köstenberger and Alexander Stewart to do this.
- Have a focused Christmas celebration service that incorporates student leadership (reading Scripture, sharing testimony, etc…)
- Develop a Bible reading plan for the month of December and encourage your students/small groups to walk through it together.
2. Find ways to gather
People naturally gather together at Christmas. This happens in the office, on sports teams, and within families. Why not take this opportunity to invite the lost to gather with other believers?! This can be through small groups, a church-wide event, or as a student ministry. Gathering together provides a way for your students to invite unbelieving friends to your church or connect them to other believers within your church. Each year our student ministry hosts its own Christmas party called Progressive Aggressive Dinner. It is a progressive meal mixed with a team challenge (for example, photo scavenger hunt). It is not only a fun night and easy invite for our students, but it provides us an opportunity to share the gospel and invite guests to join us the following Sunday for a special Christmas service led by our students. Additionally, you may choose to have your students gather to serve (soup kitchen, angel tree shopping, Operation Christmas Child). Either way, find way to gather that helps students invite and/or serve others.
3. Send students out with the gospel
While gathering together can lead to faithful gospel witness, the more pressing need is to send students out with the gospel as the scatter for the holiday season. At the heart of the gospel is that God initiated our salvation. He pursued us first. He loved us first. This is perhaps most clearly displayed in the incarnation. God became one us to save us! As Timothy Keller says, “Christmas means that we are so lost, so unable to save ourselves, that nothing less than the death of Son of God himself could save us” (Hidden Christmas, 17). Christmas provides both the message and the season to make this message known to our neighbors.
Don’t miss the opportunity that Christmas time provides us to grow students in their love for Christ and to send them out with the hope of Christ to reach the lost.