Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Here We Come a'Caroling

The tradition of Christmas caroling began as early as the 15th century when wandering minstrels performed songs in exchange for donations to be given to the needy. In fact, many of the carols we sing today were written during that time. Christmas carols are usually cheerful and proclaim the news of Christ birth.

Christmas is such a wonderful time for sharing the Good News. At what other time of the year can you stroll through your neighborhood, stop in front of the house of a complete stranger, sing a song about Jesus Christ, and get a smile in return.

Christmas caroling can be a part of a churches outreach strategy when combined with other events. While out caroling a church can hand out attractive invitations to other church events such as a Christmas Eve service. A particular neighborhood can be targeted for an annual evangelism campaign that would include invitations to Easter, block parties, backyard Bible clubs and other events.

Caroling also provides an opportunity to involve people who are newer to the church in a fun outreach event. Don’t forget to have Christmas cookies and other holiday snacks ready for afterwards. Some of the church’s seniors and others who may be averse to walking in winter weather might enjoy setting up the party.

The set up is simple. Make up a song sheet of carols. Keep it to one page (printed on both sides) and only one verse for each carol. Fun holiday songs such as “Jingle Bells” and “Winter Wonderland” are nice but rely heavily on songs that celebrate the birth of Christ. Avoid Santa songs, he gets enough publicity.

When you stop to sing, make sure the group stands together like a choir. Have a designated song leader and sing the songs in the order they are on the sheet. This will help things flow smoothly. Sing two songs at each stop, more if you draw a crowd. Sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” as you stroll away.

Brief your carolers so they can know what to expect and begin with prayer. Debriefing is a good idea, too. Let the folks share the contacts they made in the community.

Music touches everyone, and a song celebrating the birth of Jesus combined with the power of the Holy Spirit, may have an eternal impact on someone's life. Can you imagine the impact if every church went caroling at Christmas?

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