Here’s a checklist of five things your church can do to prepare this year:

✅ Update your A Church Near You pages with your Advent and Christmas services and events

A Church Near You receives more than 12 million page views each year and 81 per cent of people who come to the site are first time visitors, so there is a huge opportunity to use the site to encourage local church attendance. We’re thrilled that there are now more than 16,300 church editors.

Make sure you tag your services with ‘#FollowTheStar’ as well as ‘Christmas’, ‘mince pies’ ‘mulled wine’, ‘Advent’ and ‘Christmas carols’ as appropriate.

✅ Order the new #FollowTheStar: Twelve days of Christmas wonder booklet or leaflet and download the app when it launches

Written by Revd Mina Munns, the new Church House Publishing reflections journey invites you to experience the wonder and excitement of the Wise Men’s journey as they travel towards Jesus. This year there are two resources available and they start on 25 December:

  • The Follow the Star 2019 booklet offers a brand-new reflection for each of the twelve days of Christmas with a short Bible passage, a simple prayer and a challenge..
  • The Follow the Star 2019 leaflet is for churches who wish to promote the campaign to large groups of people. It contains a short challenge for each day plus QR codes linking to the full reflections on the #FollowTheStar app.

View a sample copy of the booklet, large print version and leaflet, and order in individual and bulk-saving packs from Church House Publishing.

As in previous years, the reflections will be available as daily e-mails and a free app with full audio. There will also be family craft activities linked to each day’s theme.

In addition, content will be available in Advent through the Church of England social media channels, with weekly themes and daily carol reflections.

✅ Download and buy posters, logos, prayer cards, bookmarks and other resources

CPO have produced a range of high quality, affordable stationery and publicity resources that can be bought on the Church Print Hub website. In addition, free digital resources are available on the CofE website.

✅ Use new Christmas videos and brand-new customisable video tool to help your church promote its services and events

More details on this brand-new video tool will follow, but this will allow your church to produce customisable videos to share in church and on your social media accounts. The aim is to help encourage people to come to your local services and events. A range of new video adverts for you to use throughout December will also be available. Keep an eye on the Church of England on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for more.

✅ Display a star on your church building – and tag this on A Church Near You

The bigger and more visible the better! If you don’t have one, CPO have a limited number available to buy. Don’t forget to tag that your church has a large star displayed on A Church Near You and share a photo of it on social media using #FollowTheStar.

Here is a link to a Christmas presentation if you would like to use at PCC meetings and other church events.

Please do use this feedback form to share any comments or questions you may have.

Our hope and prayer is that #FollowTheStar allows people across the country and Diocese in Europe to take the life-changing Advent and Christmas journey this year.

The #FollowTheStar campaign is part of the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform programme, aimed at helping us become a growing Church for all people and for all places.