USA (MNN) — While Christmas is still months away, churches in North America are already preparing for ministry. But not their own ministry. They're getting ready for Slavic Gospel Association's Immanuel's Child Christmas campaign.
SGA's Joel Griffith says churches across North America participate in the program. "They basically take offerings within the church, and each family that participates with these offerings takes home a Bethlehem star ornament."
Each family signs it, sends it in with their gift, and the money is delivered to help Russian churches with their Christmas ministry. "The churches take the stars then, and they hand these out to the children who are invited to these outreaches. They get a wrapped Christmas present, and they get one of these stars. There's usually a program that takes place in the local church, and there's a clear presentation of the Gospel."
Griffith says, "It basically is targeted toward needy children and their families and orphans, and it's a church-based ministry in the sense that churches sort of partner with us and help churches over there do these outreaches at Christmas."
SGA would like to reach out to more than 14,000 kids this December.
If your church would like to participate, you need to request a free Immanuel's Child program kit now. "That kit not only has the stars included in it, but it also has instructions on how the churches can participate in the program and how to promote the program. We basically try to get that in place by September 15."
Griffith says there's no limit to the number of churches that can help. "The more churches and the more funds that come in, that enables the [Russian] churches to be able to plan more of these outreaches in their neighborhoods and nearby communities."
Immanuel's Child is a great launching point for churches doing international outreach projects for the first time. "If they're looking for a way to be involved in overseas missions, it's a good way to prime the pump for it."