Why Hope Explored for Christmas follow-up?
Christmas is a brilliant opportunity for evangelism, so it’s no surprise that most churches go to great lengths to get as many people as possible through their doors in December to hear the gospel. Carol services, Christmas dinners, Advent trails, craft evenings, musical performances, nativity plays, festive fairs, carol singing, family events — the schedule for December is usually 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?
It was a joy to work with Rico Tice and the team at Christianity Explored Ministries in developing Hope Explored, a new three-week evangelistic series. Here are three reasons it might be just what you’re looking for as 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. That’s why we set out to develop something shorter. With only three sessions, Hope Explored could well be an “easier” invite to the kind of 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 exploring 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 Covid, climate change and the economy, real hope often feels hard to come by. In the gospel, Christians have the 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 preach 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 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 will work.
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.
Hope Explored was the best part of three years in the making, and I’ve lost track of the number of times I have read, re-read, watched and re-watched the talks in that time. But they still make me smile — because they’re full of Jesus.
Written by Rachel Jones
Rachel is editor at The Good Book Company, publishers of Christianity Explored Ministries resources.