Getting people the right gift at Christmas is tough. What do you get the person who has everything? After all let's face it, most people in Chessington already have everything they think they need.
Another pair of socks?
A framed picture of your best selfie from 2016?
Or that box of smellies your Gran gave you last year?
Before you resort to those dire measures, remember our vision statement, "We believe people need to hear about Jesus!" And Christmas is still our best opportunity to tell people about Jesus. Wouldn't it be a shame if we spent lots of time, money and effort buying things people don't need and failed to take the opportunity to try and give them Jesus?
With that in mind, let me tell you about three levels of engagement we want to encourage you to take part in this Christmas.
If you can not find the time to do anything else, then all we ask you to do is deliver invites to the houses on your street. Take a handful of Christmas Cards and invites from the back of the church. Sign the cards, pop in an invite and drop it through your neighbour's letterbox. As the meerkats say "Simples!" It won't even take an hour.
If you are a little braver, then do the same as above but this time knock on your neighbour's doors and hand them their card and invite. Maybe you can't knock on every door but what about committing to knock on five doors either side of your house, ten opposite and then posting the rest?
Advent is the one time of year when knocking on your neighbour's door to say, "Hello!" is entirely OK. If you've lived on your road for 20 years and still don't know the names of your immediate neighbours, this is the best time of year to find out!
The top level of engagement is to do the above but as you do it invite your neighbours to your home one day in Advent for minced pies and mulled wine. Emelie and I have been doing this for years now, and people always come. When I invite them, I usually say, "It's a great opportunity to get to know a few neighbours. Even if you can only come for five minutes, please come!"
If you are worried about doing it on your own, then why not team up with someone in your Life Group or another church member who lives near by?
Remember, you may not be the only member of CEC living on your street. If you have other Christians living near you, please do talk to each other about how you can work together to reach your neighbours.
These three levels of engagement work on this principle, "the more personal the invite, the more likely people are to come."
If we deliver Christmas cards and invites to everyone in Chessington, some people will come. If we knock on their doors and personally invite them, yet more will come. If we invite them into our homes and take the time to get to know them before we invite, then more still will come.
Let's pray together, that this Christmas we will cram as many people into the Kings Centre as possible! And by God's grace, some would turn to the Saviour as we celebrate His birth!
Sign up and collect your cards and invites this Sunday.