For several reasons the last six weeks of the calendar year is an important time in local church ministry. The Christmas season gives a church many opportunities to serve the local community. The Christmas worship services are a time where people new to the faith or curious about the faith are willing to come if they are invited. Such an awesome time! The Christmas season is also a challenging time for church leaders because in the midst of all the opportunities regular rhythms can be disturbed. There are tons of activities happening and during the six-week run, there are two weeks when some on the team are likely to travel – making it difficult to gather as a team. With all the busyness, planning and prioritization are critical for church leaders during the Christmas season. Here are five items that church leaders must prioritize and develop plans for in the midst of a busy Christmas season.
1. Your Own Family
If there is a time when a leader’s spouse or kid wishes the leader were not serving at a church, Christmas is likely one of those times. If you are a church leader, plan now how you will enjoy some special times with your family in the midst of the busy Christmas schedule. Kaye and I have put in place some traditions that the kids look forward to – times such as Christmas Eve morning and the afternoon of Christmas. Yes, the times are not the same as families with a Dad who doesn’t work at church, but we work hard to make them special.
2. Your Rest
Get some time scheduled to rest. The new calendar year is going to present lots of ministry opportunities. Don’t start the New Year exhausted!
3. Year-end Giving
A disproportionate amount of a church’s giving will happen during this time of year. As a team ensure you are communicating clearly and passionately to your church about the importance of giving – both for each person and for the church as a whole. As people give they are actively fighting greed with their generosity. And the church is able to move strongly into the New Year because of the people’s generosity.
4. The Christmas Message
Sometimes preachers will complain that people don’t want to hear what they need the most – the good news of Jesus. At Christmas, they actually do. What an amazing opportunity Christmas gives us! The central story of the Scripture is the message people are actually expecting and wanting! If you don’t preach the gospel at Christmas something is seriously wrong. While the message at Christmas should be clear and simple, this does not mean you should prepare less. Do not wing your Christmas message! Be ready to articulate the good news with passion and the conviction that comes from spending time before the Lord with the message.
5. What Is After Christmas
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who comes to your church for the first time at Christmas. Imagine they loved the service and that the Lord grabbed their attention. What are they going to be invited to next at your church? Is there a new teaching series starting in January? Is there a special class? What is it? Know where you will nudge the new people God sends to your church. Suggestion: Do not invite new people to lots of things at your Christmas services. The more you announce, the less they will hear. But know what is best and most important and communicate that in your bulletin, in a brief invitation, etc.
This post is sponsored by Vanderblomen. They know the Church very well and excel at matching ministry leaders with churches so that both benefit. They helped match me to Mariners! Check them out here.