Christmas falls on a Sunday in 2016. This is such a rare occurrence that it’s important to have a strategy to take advantage of it.
Many churches will have the difficult discussion about whether to do their typical Christmas Eve service and a Christmas service or to forego one or the other. The truth is that many churches will decide against a Christmas morning service, even though some people will still wish to attend Christmas morning.
Here are five ways to make the most of this Christmas opportunity:
1. Assemble a special team
Pull together a team to plan a meaningful service. Not only is it this team’s job to help put together a powerful gathering, but you want to nail down every aspect so that it runs like clockwork. This is not the service you want running long.
People may come because they feel it’s important to attend on this special day, but they’re going to vigilantly watch the clock. You want this service to be solid and taut.
2. Let people see what a “normal” service is like
There’s a temptation to make Christmas special by focusing on a bunch of holiday-specific elements. And while spending 30 minutes reenacting the nativity story with the kids in the church might be really cute, it stops one-time visitors from really experiencing what your community is like.
Come up with ways to make the Christmas service special (an easy option is to make it super brief!), but make sure that it capitalizes on your church’s strengths. If you have a really good worship team, focus on some time singing carols. If your pastor is an exceptional preacher, make sure you have time for a seasonal message.
3. Talk about your goals for next year
While you don’t want it to be your focus, it’s wise to devote some time to talk about some of the things you’re looking forward to in the coming year. You can talk about upcoming sermon series, goals, causes you’ll be supporting. As much as possible, focus on the values and interests that set your church apart.
The goal here is to help these one-time visitors discover the areas that they might closely identify with what’s important to you. But it is important that you give them a real sense of your church’s strengths. It doesn’t really help if you use the same buzzwords and goals of every other church.
4. Pull out all the marketing stops
A lot of churches are probably going to close their doors on Christmas morning. And they have a point. A lot of people are probably going to stay home that day, and if the average church plays it like any other Sunday, it probably won’t be worth the work they put into the service. The opportunity lies in getting the word out and inviting all the people who would still like to attend but don’t know where to go.
Start by putting a huge sign up outside your church after Thanksgiving and leaving it up until Christmas afternoon. Create and distribute invitations. You can have your church members pass them out, but this might also be one of the times you invest in mailings. Then promote the Christmas service hard and regularly in all of your social media channels. (Remember to create a Facebook event for your Sunday morning service.)
5. Use the New Visitor Success Kit!
We put together a strategy to help churches get visitors into their church, create a great first impression, and help encourage them to come back. If there was ever a time to put this remarkable tool to good use, it’s during your Sunday morning Christmas service!