Scott grew up in a home where spiritual things were not discussed or important. As a sophomore, a friend invited Scott out to a Christmas Dinner, sponsored by a local youth organization. The room had been decorated with lights, Christmas trees surrounding the room’s perimeter, and poinsettias lining the stage. The high school jazz band entertained the 200 students from San Pasqual High School who attended. The special music, student testimonies, and speaker all impressed Scott, who had never been to a Christian event of this type. Scott was moved when the speaker presented the students with an opportunity to receive Christ into his life. Scott received Christ and responded on his comment card, “This is what I have been looking for my whole life.” Scott went to a winter conference for high school students. Later that month, he became involved in a youth ministry on campus. Scott now attends a major university and continues to grow in his relationship with God.
Christmas Dinner Outreach Details
The Christmas Dinner is a formal event where parents and community members serve and honor the students by providing a nice meal and encouraging program that highlights the true meaning of Christmas and provides an opportunity for each student to respond to Christ.
This Christmas Dinner is a festive event that has the potential to:
- Expose large numbers of students to the gospel.
- Increase student ownership of your local ministry.
- Increase community visibility and ownership of your local ministry.
- Parents and community members who desire to serve the students
- Parents and community members who will fund the dinner
- Students who want to reach their non-Christian friends.
Organizational Roles and Committees
- Impart vision and direction for the event through monthly organizational meetings.
- Communicate as needed with committee leaders.
- Design and print invitations
- Handle R.S.V.P.’s for the event
- Finance cost of invitations (optional)
Helpful Hint: Invitations should be consistent with the formal theme. This will make students feel honored.
- Create atmosphere of the site of the dinner (make it festive and “Christmassy”)
- Decorate the room and the stage, not including the individual tables
- Make arrangements for meal
- Select menu
- Coordinate food service at the dinner
Helpful Hint: Having the meal catered requires the least amount of effort by parents and has a better guarantee on food quality. If going this route, use a popular restaurant that students frequent. If you have parents who are talented cooks and are willing to do the work, this would be more economical.
Table Host Coordinator
- Recruit table hosts and help other parents recruit table hosts.
- Communicate responsibilities and details (items needed, location, time to arrive, serving schedule, etc.) to table hosts.
Helpful Hint: Choose someone who is well connected to the community and parents and doesn’t mind phone calling.
- Raise funds for the event
- Coordinate door prize donations
Helpful Hint: Figure out the price per table and challenge individuals or businesses to buy a table, and/or challenge the table hosts to provide the funding for their table.
- Provide involved students with invitations
- Motivate and teach involved students how to effectively invite their friends
- Provide accountability and continued encouragement for involved students
- Work closely with Program coordinator in finding students for program
- Arrange program schedule and coordinate program elements (before and at the event)
- Arrange for sound system, emcee coaching, comment cards
Helpful Hint: Comment cards are helpful to keep track of students who attended and their thoughts about the evening and provide a place for students to indicate their decision for Christ. It is best to lead the students from the front in filling out the card.
- Be as creative or simple as you would like in covering the event in prayer!
Helpful Hint: Moms in Touch, Mothers Care or another community prayer group is a good option for prayer coverage.
- Decorate table with Christmas theme, using red, green, and white colors and a low center-piece.
- Provide tablecloth for a (size) table, plates, silverware, cups, napkins, inexpensive party favors or candy and two pitchers for table of (number) people. Using disposable nice colored plastic plates saves a big mess in the kitchen after dinner, and they look pretty.
- Provide dessert (one apple pie) for the table
- Wait on your table, serving the students. You will need a serving tray and should wear white top and black pants.
- Stay and participate in the program after the meal is completed.
- Arrive 2 hours before the meal is to be served to set up your table.
Helpful Hint: This is the most important job! You make the students feel special by your service. Be as creative as you can in this role.
Timeline of the Christmas Dinner Outreach
- Late September
- Conduct your first organizational meeting with leadership parents and volunteers.
- Impart the initial vision of the event.
- Set the date and determine a site. We recommend having the dinner the first weekend of December before family Christmas plans begin. Take time to consider the best day.
- Encourage parents to get the word out to other parents to pray, ask for involvement, and come to the next organizational meeting in October.
- Talk through table host responsibilities.
- Between this and the next meeting, book speaker and location.
- Late October
- Have second organizational meeting.
- Determine committee heads and communicate committee responsibilities (best if this is in writing)
- Pass out Table host responsibility sheets so parents can ask their friends to host tables and enlist finances.
- Let the students know about the event and have them brainstorm friends they want to invite.
- Early November
- Director of dinner is in close contact with the committee heads each week, making sure that progress is being made, particularly focusing on the table host recruiting and funding.
- Program coordinator finalizes the program and enlists students to participate: emcees (one sr. guy, one senior girl together), student testimony, student singers (perform duets of Christmas songs), different student leadership options (skit participants, greeters, other helpers, etc.).
- Print invitations
- Mid-to-Late November
- Have a “Christmas in November Party” for the students to paint the picture of the event and give students ownership. Give the kids the invitations to invite friends.
- Have the final organizational meeting the Sunday before or after Thanksgiving to troubleshoot, pray, get updates on each committee’s progress.
- Director should be ready to step in and help committee members if need be.
- It’s time for the dinner!
- Get final head count from invitation committee (R.S.V.P. person).
- Communicate number of meals to be prepared to menu committee head.
- Make sure all table hosts know their responsibilities.
- Check with all committee leaders to make sure everything is in order.
- Enjoy the dinner and all that God does through your efforts!