It always bothers me when Wal-Mart greedily puts out Christmas decorations on September 1st so that the holiday swell of good-tidings (i.e. fourth quarter sales revenues) can go through the roof.
However, as a ministry leader, it always serves as a reminder to me of the nightmare before Christmas planning. There are just a small number of weekends left before the big day and this year, it’s on a SUNDAY!
It’s not just Christmas either. There’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years all together mashed up in what I used to call “4 months of where’s daddy?” Aww…that took a sad turn.
To stave off the impending doom, I’ve prepared a standard checklist to rundown before Santa Clause comes to town so that you can stay on the nice list this Christmas season. Well, some of you are still getting lumps of coal…looking at you, Congress.
Answer the following questions and you’ll be ready for a great Ho-Ho-Holiday season!
How many more Sunday’s until Christmas?
I’ll do that one for you. It’s thirteen. THIRTEEN! So, how many weeks does it take to plan a great Christmas service? Let’s hope it’s less than 13.
When is Christmas?
How does the day of the week affect your plans? This year it’s on a Sunday. Are you having services on Sunday morning? Is Santa Claus invited? Is there a place to park his reindeer?
What events are planned for your church?
How are you going to promote them and where? Make lists of items to accomplish for each event. Now eat it to absorb the information….wait, my lawyers are telling me to tell you not to do that last thing.
What look and feel will you go for in décor?
Who is responsible for décor? Do they know they are responsible and do they have a deadline? What’s their plan? What staff member has final say over the plan? Does it fit with your church’s branding/style?
Will it look like a Kirkland’s exploded?
What are you doing to promote Christmas?
What social ads are you using to promote the Christmas service and how much is your digital budget (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter ads)?
What is your plan for sharing the Gospel?
There are record numbers of non-believers in churches around Christmas and Easter. What are you doing to make sure they hear the Gospel? What is your follow up plan and who is responsible?
Who’s performing where and when and do they know about it?
If you want a children’s program or youth band at your party or service, have you alerted them already so that they can start practicing for it? What is the approval process for what they are going to do (how can you make sure they don’t do something terrible/dangerous/scary and that they plan something incredible/moving/fun)?
How do your Christmas plans reflect the goals and values of your church?
Is the point of your service to be “cute” so families can have lots of opportunities to take pictures of their kids dressed up as Camel #2, or is it about bringing in new families to connect them to your church?
Have you asked off for vacation the days after Christmas before everyone else has already taken them?
Get there first! Go ahead and put your after-Christmas vacation on the calendar now. Of course, you don’t want to miss Youth Pastor Sunday (it’s the Sunday after Christmas where every pastor takes vacation and the youth pastor stays behind and preaches his once-a-year sermon).
Overall, don’t panic. You’ve still got time. But also, don’t loaf. Remember that story of the Tortoise and the Hare? Be the turtle, not the rabbit. Besides, turtles eat pizza and and fight with ninja weapons, so, they are way cooler.
On a serious note, I hope you are taking advantage of this season to reach the lost. Our call is to go out to them, but on at least two occasions a year, they come to us in DROVES. Don’t let the opportunity blow by you.
I’m sure there are lots of other items that should be on the checklist. This isn’t an exhaustive list and we’re all better together, so what did I leave off? Let me know in the comments.
If you would like to check out Seth’s podcast, The Seminary of Hard Knocks, on iTunes, click the link here. Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a rating and review!