KNOXVILLE (WATE) – During the Christmas season, it’s all about traditions and part of that may be going to worship at area churches. While you may see some unfamiliar faces Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, local spiritual leaders are hoping those visitors become members.
Spiritual leaders tell us no matter your faith, it’s all about connecting with the congregation and with God so that visitors feel welcome coming back.
“It’s a time when people can get in touch with the Lord again,” said Bishop Richard Stika with the Diocese of Knoxville.
The nativity scene is one way congregations like the Catholic Diocese share their message, along with mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
“It’s about Jesus using us as instruments to touch the hearts of other people and let them know that they’re loved. If there’s one emotion that’s tied to Christmas I think that it’s love and a sense of hope,” added Bishop Stika.
By compelling sermons and creating a sense of home, they believe visitors become members. “When people are not there, we’re not complete,” said Bishop Stika.
It’s a shared belief at St. John’s Lutheran Church. “We trust that the spirit will make that connection through the word, and the sacrament, and gathered community,” said Pastor Steve Misenheimer.
As an invitation for following Sundays, Pastor Misenheimer believes it’s music and a warm welcome which help. But no matter the faith, spiritual leaders believe it’s about the word.
“The message of the gospel has life changing implications no matter how many times people hear it,” said Pastor Misenheimer.
We also checked with Temple Beth El, Rabbi Mathew Michaels tells us it’s Rosh Hoshanah and Yom Kippur when synagogues generally see the most visitors. That’s why he works on creating a community and making the message not only connect with the Torah but making it relevant as well.
“I often say that’s why there are so many doors at the temple, because people come in for different purposes in different gateways into Judaism. And so any way is a legitimate way and the congregation is here to try and serve as many needs as possible,” said Rabbi Michaels.
Some congregations like First Baptist in Knoxville also tell WATE 6 On Your Side they’ll be putting their Christmas services online for people who may not be able to make it.