Churches welcome Christmas newcomers and hope they stay

1:22 PM, Dec 26, 2010   |    comments
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- For churches, Christmas Eve is a work day.

"It's an exciting day for us as we celebrate Christ's birth," says Pastor Fred McCormick of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie. "It's one of the peaks of the year."

It's the night to shine for churches as Christmas Eve services are typically one of the most highly attended all year. The hope is that newcomers will come, worship, and ultimately call it home.

"It's an opportunity for us to demonstrate our purpose in being here," says Pastor McCormick. "That would be wonderful if people who visit on Christmas Eve might stay and become part of the Wooddale church family."

Studies suggest church attendance nationally dipped in 2008, but has since slightly risen each year. Now, 42 percent say they attend church regularly.

The staff at Wooddale try and make it as convenient as possible. Overall, they hold nine Christmas Eve services between two of their campuses. They'll see close to ten thousand worshippers on Christmas Eve.

"We like to have as many options and opportunities for people so they can work around their family schedules," says Pastor McCormick.

North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills pulls out all the seasonal stops too.

"This is all hands on deck," says North Heights worship director Mark David Williams. "We want to show them something that's really uniqe and will hopefully draw them in."

North Heights enlists over 300 volunteers and uses full choirs, instruments, drama, and dance to tell the story of Jesus.

"We know lots of people come to church once or twice a year," says Williams. "We want to be very welcoming and show them the Gospel in a new way."

Typically church attendance doubles on Christmas Eve and many hope the newcomers stay throughout the year.

"There's a place for everyone to fit in here," says Williams.


















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