This is part 4 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.
Just imagine that you have planned a big party at your house. You have invited all your family, your friends, and your co-workers. It is the biggest party you have ever thrown at your house. The invitations are out, the RSVPs are in, and suddenly you realize it is almost time for the party. If you are like me, the next step is: panic.
But there is no need to panic; there is still plenty of time to get ready for your guests.
The focus of this blog is technology, so I am going to focus on that. First, however, let’s talk about some of the low-tech things you can do to be ready for your guests.
When I am inviting special guests to my house, I clean like I am trying to remove all the DNA. Then, my wife tells me to do it again. We should do the same for our church. I have a great, free, low-tech tip for you. Find a friend who doesn’t go to your church. A really honest friend and a friend whose home is so clean that you wonder if anyone lives there. Have that friend come and look at your church and point out where it doesn’t look clean. When we worship in the same place every week, we stop seeing the things that look bad (and stop smelling things that smell bad.)
As part of cleaning, you may realize that some cleanout is necessary. Sometimes we fail to notice that there is a broken pew in the corner that has been there for a year. Or, maybe there is a donation box in the lobby that has been there since last year’s food drive.
Repair and Paint
You may also even notice that some repair is in order. Remember how the narthex used to be white? Do you notice it is now yellow? Paint is a beautiful thing. Did anyone ever fix that entry door or do you still have a “do not enter” sign up? Were those broken tiles in the hall ever repaired? You may be surprised at the amount of deferred maintenance you have when you start looking around.
Now, on to the tech stuff.
You may think your church’s front door is where your greeters stand, but it is actually much further away. Most people who visit your church for the first time on Christmas Eve will have visited your church’s website first.
Every year at Christmas time, I make it a point to visit church websites to see if they mention Christmas. As December rolls around, your church website needs to begin to focus on Christmas. If someone is invited to Christmas Eve worship at your church and they visit your church’s website first, will Christmas Eve worship times be the first thing they see? What will be there impression if Christmas Eve service times aren’t listed at all?
Some churches completely replace their website home page with information about Christmas services. Others create landing pages or microsites devoted to Christmas. On their promotional pieces, they list the address of the Christmas page like www.mychurch.org/christmas or even www.christmasatmychurch.org.
For inspiration and examples, check out:
This may sound like a silly question but, can people in your church hear the sermon? How about the music? This is a really good time to check out your audio equipment. Are all the speakers working? Do the microphones work all the time? Is there a mysterious hum during the sermon? Do you have plenty of batteries? Is your best sound person working on Christmas Eve? If you have any special music and it needs to be amplified, do you have everything you need? Run some tests and get things fixed before your guests arrive. Because, if they can’t hear, you may never see them again.
Your church may not use video projection of any sort. But, if you do, make sure it makes the right impression. How old is that bulb in your projector? Is the projector itself bright enough for people to see? Who is making the slides for Christmas Eve? Who will be running them? Does the computer that runs the slides occasionally shut down during service?
This is not, at all, a complete list. Every church is different and has some different things to think about. I hope these might get you thinking about what you need to do at your church to get ready for those special guests. Feel free to share some of the things on your preperation list in the comments.