Now, here’s a fun church-wide CHRISTmas project. Plan a gigantic caroling blitz with an outreach purpose. Every attender at your church—singles, kids, elderly, teens, couples, bad singers, occasional attenders…everyone!—is challenged to contribute one hour for a purposeful caroling party. Try these simple tips for planning.
Tip #1: Make caroling maps. Each caroling team will receive a unique list of homes and prospective members to visit. Design a plan that fits your church and community, considering distance and time. Mappers will attempt to set one pre-arranged appointment for each team, such as a homebound member or church guest. Caroling at one home takes about five minutes, then they can sing at nearby homes as well. Where to carol?
- Carol for homebound members and their neighbors.
- Carol at all homes within a few blocks of your church building, or an entire subdivision.
- Carol for your town’s mayor, police chief or other leaders.
- Carol in hallways at a nearby nursing home, with permission.
- “Drive-by” teams, including people with mobility limitations, carol from their car windows to fire stations, Christmas tree stores, and, with permission, mall parking lots.
- Carol at the home of each recent visitor to your church, and their neighbors.
Tip #2: Offer multiple party times. For best participation, offer a choice of caroling hours, and perhaps a choice of days.
Tip #3: Recruit great leaders. You’ll need mappers, hot cocoa servers and a promotion team. Most importantly, recruit lots and lots of caroling team leaders. Set a big goal for number of caroling teams.
Tip#4: Add extras. Caroling team leaders set a joyful atmosphere. They may bring Santa hats, or long scarves, kazoos, sleigh bells, tambourines. Add a violinist or bongo player. Make signs on stakes that read “Merry Christmas” and “from Trinity Church.” They may enjoy decorating their car with battery-operated lights and garland.
Tip #5: Advertise. Create excitement. Provide online registration. Make a Facebook invitation. Hang signup sheets at church, or pass them around in meetings, classes and worship. Ask all church leaders to help promote it.
Tip #6: On caroling day. Caroling team leaders arrive early to choose a mapped assignment, and pick up church brochures and printed invitations to church Christmas events. As carolers arrive, they immediately join a caroling team. They sign Christmas cards to deliver, and when a team has 6-12 people, they pray together and depart. Most teams are out the door in five minutes. Latecomers form additional teams. If a team drives to their destination, they play Christmas music as they go.
Tip #7: The after-celebration. Carolers return in exactly an hour to enjoy music and fellowship, hot cocoa and homemade cookies, and a great atmosphere of Christmas joy. A whiteboard is updated as teams arrive to show the grand total of people visited. Sharing the joy of CHRISTmas with your community–now, that’s something to celebrate!
A sample instruction sheet for Caroling Team leaders is at www.dianadavis.org.