In October of this year, “Outreach,” our United Methodist church marketing and outreach partner, offered a $300 discount on special Christmas products for United Methodist Churches through a partnership with United Methodist Communications.
First UMC, Huntington, decided to take advantage of this discount by purchasing fifty yard signs to distribute to the congregation to help spread the word of our Advent and Christmas worship theme: “There’s a Place for You…” Because the signs referenced the First UMC website, they were careful to make sure the theme carried over to the website and that Christmas Eve worship times were clear and easily accessed for visitors.
The fifty invitational signs were distributed the first Sunday of Advent with the challenge to blanket the Huntington community as much as possible.
The congregation not only jumped on this opportunity, they used the signs as a way of striking up conversations with neighbors and friends which in turn led to personal invitations to worship during Advent.
Beyond that, the congregation has taken the spirit of “brightening” up their outreach by entering a friendly competition to “light up their signs” in the best way possible and share pictures of their lighted signs on Facebook.
They call it a friendly competition because the prize for winning is a “free candle” on Christmas Eve – something they would get anyway. However, as the pictures show, this congregation is having great fun with the outreach project and new conversations are popping up all the time about how this is truly a way for them to talk about relational and invitational discipleship!