This is part 2 of the series, “Is it too early to start planning for Christmas? Or is it too late.” Feel free to start here. Or, go back to the beginning of the series.
In my last post, I wrote about the importance of planning for Christmas Eve worship services and how that planning should begin in January. A significant number of people who do not regularly participate in the worship life of a church, but do feel some connection to the traditions of the church, show up looking for something. So, it is essential that we do our best.
Whether you have been planning all year long, or are just getting started, there are five phases of getting ready for Christmas Eve: Plan, Invite, Prepare, Welcome, and Follow-up. Today, we will look at number one: initial planning.
There are some aspects of Christmas Eve that you need to start planning right away. Churches that take this seriously have already started. However, even if you haven’t even thought about Christmas Eve yet, you can still get to work now.
Set your service times.
Christmas is on a Sunday this year. So, if you haven’t already, you need to decide how you will handle that. Will you have regular Sunday morning worship services marking the final Sunday of Advent? Or, will Sunday morning be your Christmas Eve service? Will you have additional Christmas Eve services later in the day? When and how many? Do you need to add extra services to make room for extra people? Will there be different types of services? Will one be family oriented and one be traditional?
Work out logistical issues.
Do you have adequate seating and parking for extra guests? Are there any extra complications about having evening services? Do you have enough greeters? If you are going to use candles, have you ordered them yet?
Start planning the services.
There are a number of ways to approach Christmas Eve services. How will you do it? Will you have more than one? Will different services have different approaches? (For instance, one geared to children and families and another more traditional.) Will you have any special music? Will you be taking a special offering?
Need some ideas? Here are some links that might help:
Plan for after Christmas.
If your church is suddenly filled with people who don’t normally attend church, don’t you want to invite them back? I don’t think it is overwhelmingly appealing to say, “Come back next week when things will get back to normal.” Think about planning a sermon series that might be appealing to guests. Or, if you are a lectionary preacher, preview what you will be preaching about over the next few weeks. Think of some way to make it appealing for new folks to come back.
Discipleship Ministries has even put together an after Christmas sermon series package for you. “Hello God? We’ve Got Questions!” You can download the entire package including sermon outlines, a promo video, graphics and more.
In my next post, I will discuss the next phase: invite. While you still have some time to do the actual inviting, time is running out to get invitation resources ordered.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about preparing for Christmas Eve, feel free to ask in the comments. If I don’t know the answer, I know lots of pastors and church communicators who would love to help!