Its seventeen weeks until Christmas, which means time is very short if you want your church to have a positive impact on your community during the holiday season this year. Sometimes we wait until Thanksgiving rolls around before we get serious about planning for one of the most important days of the year for many churches. This year will be different.
In Part One of this series I shared three of the key questions we need to ask in August:
- What is the goal of our Christmas Eve services?
- Who is our target?
- What services and service times will we offer?
Let’s continue with the final three questions.
Six Key Christmas Questions for August:
What practical next step will we offer?
This is where churches often drop the ball. They gather as large of crowd as possible on Christmas Eve, but have no plan for what they’d like people to do next. I think having a clear and simple next step is more important that drawing a huge crowd. Without a next step the service is almost pointless.Having a clear and simple next step is more important that drawing a huge crowd Click To Tweet
If your goal is that people come back next week, then make sure there’s a compelling reason to come. If you want them to attend a group or class, help them take that step right where they are sitting. Don’t make commitment a three step process (Stand, go see someone in the lobby, sign a card), make taking a next step frictionless.
The reason you want to be clear about next steps in August is a clear plan focusing on a specific target will shape your programming. When deciding every element of the service plan you want to ask, “How will this help our target audience take the next step?” If there’s not a clear line then there’s no reason to do it. Even if its a killer new song with dancing elephants and lasers. The goal isn’t a circus, the goal is changed lives.The goal isn’t a circus, the goal is changed lives. Click To Tweet
What will be our communication/marketing plan?
After you know your ultimate goal for Christmas Eve, who your target is, when you will have services and what practical next steps you will be focusing on, you can begin thinking about how you will communicate with your community about Christmas Eve. Too often I see churches simply come up with a series title, create a graphic and craft a mailing or social media plan without answering the really important questions first.
What do our teams need to have in place to succeed?
Now is the time to work with your existing teams on areas where they need to grow. You’ll need a large hospitality team for Christmas services. Why not start now helping people catch the vision for inviting a friend to serve with them? Your parking team will be stretched on Christmas Eve, so now is the time to refresh the vision for a parking team and help the leaders build community among the volunteers. Children’s Ministry may be stretched if you offer kid’s services at Christmas. Rather than doing an all-call for warm bodies the second week of December, begin now thinking strategically about helping people connect by serving on a weekly basis.
Every professional football team is preparing to play in the Super Bowl right now, Your Christmas services are much more important than the Super Bowl; your teams should be preparing now. As always, let me know if I can help.
Navigating this new chapter in church history will require balancing the tension between what is necessary from the past and what is needed for future. I’ve spent the last several years thinking about and researching this challenge, and share my insights in my new eBook, The Church Will Thrive. You can get your free copy here.