14 Questions For Planning Your Best Christmas Service
By: Vanderbloemen September 26, 2013
I hope that this article doesn’t take you by surprise. I hope you and your teams are well into your Christmas service planning by now and not stuck with last Christmas’ ideas. I mean, it is September! I wanted to take a few moments to pause, reflect and raise a few questions for discussion around Christmas service planning.
If your church has already begun planning your programming for the holidays, let me be the first to say “Good Job!” My hope is that you will be challenged and find some items you may not have considered yet. If this article is starting to stress you out at the thought of all that needs to be done…don’t worry. I am here to help you ask a Winter Wonderland of 14 very important questions to get you on the right track to having a Holy Night.
Consider the following 14 questions to help you plan an impactful and engaging Christmas service:
1. Who is your audience? Who has Come to Adore Him?
Special holiday services can be a great invitation event for both family and friends, so consider creating a service that is more inclusive to those that are not members and regular attenders of your congregation. Many people are Christmas/Easter attenders, so expect and plan for larger than normal numbers. Make them your welcomed guest.
2. How will you tell the greatest story ever told in a fresh way?
This question prompts a number of other questions to consider…
3. Will you incorporate special elements that require additional planning including video, drama, dance, music, and staging?
Be realistic with timing and get the right people on the team to help accomplish creative programming as well as technical elements.
4. Are there any special guest artists that need to be scheduled now to make sure they are available for your event?
If you're bringing in professionals, then book your musicians, dancers, vocalists, actors, sand artists, painters, lighting designers, and video editors as soon as possible.
5. Will your service be presentational, participatory, or both?
6. How long will the service be?
Consider what other programming you will have for families outside of the main service as well as any parking concerns or conflicting community events.
7. Will you incorporate advent this year?
If so, plan for how advent will that impact your December weekend planning.
8. Will kids be included in the service in some way? If yes, will they be performing or participating?
Discuss with your team if you are going to have childcare available for your guests and for what ages.
Be sure you have the staffing in place to properly handle the anticipated number of attendees.
9. Is there a next step invitation from the service?
What are you planning in January? A new sermon series? Small groups or Bible studies?
Remember, give guests a reason to return.
10. Have you set the dates and times for your services?
Many people are already in the process of making holiday plans including parties, travel, and family gatherings. The sooner you can determine your plans and be ready to communicate them, the more likely you are to have people attend.
11. How many services will you need to accommodate the expected attendance?
12. Is there a Christmas service tradition that is sacred to the DNA of your church?
Remember that both tradition as well as creative innovation are both important elements in a service. If you are a new staff member, ask long-term church members or your church staff about important practices. This will not only help to enhance your church culture but also bring unity.
13. What is your budget?
If you don’t have a budget, get one. Make sure there are defined guidelines so that everyone can be on the same page moving ahead and there are no surprises on December 26th.
14. What are the volunteer needs of the event?
Start planning now for the number of volunteer teams you will need, what their responsibilities will entail, and who is responsible for recruiting and training all volunteers.
I hope when it is all said and done you will lay your head down after your services and sleep in heavenly peace. May everyone who attends hear of the child that Lay in the Manger and how he came Upon a Midnight Clear. May they know in deeper ways the greatest story ever told and be changed by the life of Jesus.
What are your Christmas plans? Share them with us to encourage others in their planning this year!