It’s so hard to believe that it’s already December. Where did the year go?
It seems like just a couple months ago we were celebrating Easter and the resurrection, and now we’re getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Before I share with you my thoughts on Christmas services, I want to encourage you to slow down during this season. Spend time with your family. Spend time with your church. And most importantly spend time with Jesus.
Now I would not consider myself a Christmas expert, but I happened to be born on December 22nd, and legend has it, that I was brought home from the hospital in a Christmas stocking just like Jesus was.
I have to write just kidding because there’s a multitude of people online who have no sense of humor, would take me seriously, and then comment about my terrible theology. I can only hope that they receive coal in their stockings this year and every year hereafter.
But let’s not focus on them. Let’s focus on you. What are you doing this year for Christmas?
Potluck? Special singing? Children’s Christmas play?
The options are endless, and depending on who you ask, what you choose could make or break your church.
Some pastors are saying that Christmas has become a bigger outreach opportunity than Easter.
My children would agree. They get more excited about celebrating Jesus’ birth than His resurrection, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the amount of gifts they get on each occasion.
But, what should you do? I have some thoughts…
1. Tell the Christmas Story.
Not the one with the leg lamp (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0SIujwdc34), the one with the virgin birth of the Savior of the world. People never get tired of hearing that story. I understand you’ve preached it every year for the past ten years. Preach it again. Get creative with it. Tell it in a different way. Tell it from the sheep’s standpoint.
2. Keep it Traditional.
If you’ve been following this blog for very long, you know that I’m not a fan of tradition. Except when it comes to Christmas. I already encouraged you to stick to the Christmas story. I also want to encourage you to sing Christmas music like Silent Night, Angels We Have Heard on High, Little Drummer Boy. Don’t be afraid to play all the hits. This is the one time of year you can get away with it.
3. Include the Kids.
If you’re a smaller church in a small town, find a way to involve the kids in the service. Let them sing a song, read a scripture, dress up like a donkey (https://i.pinimg.com/736x/23/8a/63/238a630820c991e1fb8c84b08d837eb1–donkey-costume-shrek-donkey.jpg). Whatever it takes to get their family to invite others to come see them. This is a great way to boost your attendance. Keep in mind, as your church grows larger, it’s going to become harder to do this. So, don’t start something you’re not able to stop. I’ve given you fair warning.
4. What about the Day?
Do what works best for your church. If your people expect and will show up to a Christmas Eve service, offer one. If they won’t, then don’t. Do it on a day they will attend. In the church I serve, we avoid having services on December 24th and 25th. Why? Because people are celebrating Christmas at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s on those days. So, we’ll have church services on the 23rd or the 22nd, or anytime other than Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But “Church Growth Expert” said we should maximize Christmas Eve. “Church Growth Expert” doesn’t know the culture of your community. You do. So do what works best for you.
What do you have planned for this Christmas? What day will you be having services on? Let us know by leaving a comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.
I am a husband, father, and executive pastor of a small-town church that went big. I have a passion for helping pastors grow themselves and the churches they serve. You can find out more about me and my ministry at http://travisstephens.me