Christmas is often called the Super Bowl of Christian church ministry.
If that is the case, then I guess that makes Easter the World Cup (El Futbol is bigger than Futbol Americano, trust me).
I don’t have to tell you that Christmas is the largest commercial holiday in America, or show you recent videos of shoppers being trampled with good cheer at Target. Christmas is a big deal.
It’s when lots of people return to church for the first time in a long time. It’s also one of only two times a year some will darken the door of a church just to please their mom or some holiday tradition. There will be more people in church on Easter and Christmas than any other days of the year.
Since Christmas is on a Sunday this year, you could see that as an annoyance, or as an opportunity. So, what are you going to do with that opportunity?
Personally, I say since you’ve got this one shot with some of them, you take it. I know your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, but you gotta lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go. You’ve only got one shot, do not miss this chance to blow because this opportunity could only come once in this lifetime. Ya know?
If you want to make the most out of your Christmas services with those who visit, here’s what I suggest you do…
Aim your Christmas Service at Non-Believers.
If you want to lose the attention of non-believers, the fastest way to do so is to make everything you talk about super-complicated and full of insider lingo. Don’t use acronyms (which is Greek for “Satan’s nicknames”) and look for ways to rewrite difficult theological points in your sermons into the common tongue.
Worship leaders can help by planning fewer songs so that they can explain the meanings of lyrics so that unfamiliar ears will not hamper the Gospel in song. What I’m saying is, talk from the stage like you talk in real life. Explain things. Slow down. Non-believers who were dragged there by Great Aunt Ruth (<— inside joke example) will appreciate it and be more inclined to follow along.
What I’m saying is, talk from the stage like you talk in real life. Explain things. Slow down. Non-believers who were dragged there by Great Aunt Ruth (who has a beard) will appreciate it and be more inclined to follow along.
Make Sure Jesus is the Focus of your Christmas Service
No, this never goes without saying. You might be surprised how many services I’ve attended at very large churches who left this tiny detail out of the Christmas message.
Instead, they launched a new series or rambled on about some current event for 30 minutes. Waste of time, if you ask me. SHARE. THE. GOSPEL. At least give people a chance to reject Jesus before you pre-disqualify them.
Advertise Beyond Your Christmas Service
THE big announcement at all of your Christmas services should be the most compelling reason for them to return. Sure, some of them are from out of town and won’t be back until Easter, but many are local. Why should they come back? Why should they make Sunday at your place a regular thing? Answer that question loud and clear in your Christmas services and don’t muddy up the message by announcing a thousand events. Announce the one big thing and that’s it.
Why should they come back? Why should they make Sunday at your place a regular thing? Answer that question loud and clear in your Christmas services.
Put in your “A” Team Everywhere
Your worship team, tech team, ushers, and first impressions teams need to be on their game at these services. It wouldn’t hurt to have a few training sessions with volunteers the Sunday before Christmas to walk through what “doing things perfectly” looks like.
Ushers can help visitors find a seat and make people slide over in the rows so newcomers don’t have to ask. Just put your best foot forward and roll out the red carpet for them so that they may want to come back. At least try to make them wonder why your church is so friendly. That, in itself, goes a long way.
Give Your First Impressions Team a Shot of Adrenaline
I won’t spend a lot of time here, but your greeters, parking attendants, and info desk workers are crucial in making a great first impression. Visitors need help parking and finding where to take their kids, so make sure it’s a super easy process and you have clear signage (even if it’s temporary just for the season) that shows them where to go. Oh, and remind them to SMILE!
Plan Ahead for Christmas Service Follow Up
Ah, the most forgotten rule of gathering information: follow up. Depending on the community you live in, you will need to decide the best format to follow up. Is it a handwritten note? A phone call (don’t call me)? An email? A house visit?
Whatever is acceptable in your culture and community, have a plan for it. Get volunteers ahead of time to share the load with the pastors if you are at a larger or metro church. If you leave all the contact work to the pastor, it’s likely to fall way behind and time is crucial.
Follow up within 48 hours with an invite back and don’t be afraid to ask them how you can pray with them.
I can’t remember a single time I’ve asked someone if I can pray for them and they said, “No, that’s weird. You’re a freak. How did you get in my house?” Never.
So, if you want to make the most of your Christmas service, those are my suggestions. What would you add to the list? How would you go about doing your follow up piece? Sound off in the comments and share the wealth of knowledge I know you possess!