8 Ways To Keep Your Christmas Service Visitors Coming Back
Christmas is around the corner, and we know that Christmas Eve services will be packed in churches all around the world. But sometimes, our Christmas Eve services can feel like a “one-hit wonder.” We double our attendance for one night and then quickly return to normal. The question we are left with every year is, “how do we get the people who attend our Christmas Eve services to return in the following weeks and months to fully engage in a growing relationship with Christ?”
Here are some ideas to help engage your Christmas service visitors in a way that helps them not only return the next week, but stick!
1. Make your Christmas Eve services excellent.
Here at Vanderbloemen, one of our core values is Wow-Making Excellence. Simply put, when dealing with anyone in our organization, we want people to say, “WOW, I can’t believe how well they ______!” When people go to your Christmas Eve service, you want them to say, “Wow!” because your church took the specific thumbprint that God has given it and lived it out with excellence.
Don’t try to be someone you aren’t the rest of the year. Don’t compete with the church up the street. Be who you are, and be that amazingly well. Wow-making excellence takes a committed team of people. It takes buy-in from all staff, a huge amount of volunteers, and a ton of planning. Always keep in mind that the experience starts as people drive onto the property and ends after your follow-up process is complete.
2. Make your Christmas Eve services represent who you really are.
Do you remember a time you went above and beyond to impress someone? Maybe it was for a job interview or the first time meeting your future in-laws. Presenting your best self is great, but trying to be someone you are not isn’t. It will backfire because you will eventually be found out. As you strive to plan an excellent Christmas service, be true to who you are.
3. Don’t ignore your Children’s Ministry.
We hear time and time again from churches all over our country how kids bring their parents back to church. If the kids loved the Children’s Ministry, their parents will bring them back. This is a wonderful opportunity to not only tell the story of the birth of Jesus but also show how it applies to their lives in an engaging, relevant, and age-appropriate way. On the flip side, kids who didn't have fun and don’t want to come back make it hard on the parents even if they do want to return. Put a sticker on every kid as they leave the kids service that includes regular service times and invites them and their families to come back.
4. Ask people to commit to coming back.
Don’t assume people know you want them to come back. Intentionally invite them at the end of service. Create a great follow-up message series for the New Year and ask people to commit to coming the next three Sundays for this new series. Make that series applicable. And give them a way to commit. You can do a card people fill out and drop in a bucket as they leave or use technology to allow them to do so virtually through text or an online form.
5. Tell them when to come again.
Also, don’t assume people know when your normal church services happen. Many churches won’t have services the Sunday following Christmas Eve. Make sure they know when the next services will be, both date and times!
Remember that card or virtual form you asked them to complete? Well, now you have a way to follow up with your guests as well as your occasional and regular attendees. Plan ahead and have a quick follow-up process. Maybe have a video ready from the Senior Pastor that tells them how glad he is that they were there, ties in a challenge from the message, and invites them back. This can be sent via email and be waiting in their inbox for them on Christmas morning!
7. Make the next time they return excellent.
This ties in with #1 and #2. Keep the same excellence level the weekend following Christmas Eve as you did for Christmas Eve. It may not be quite as “big,” but it should have the same feel. Volunteers should still be helpful and friendly. Children’s Ministry should still be engaging, relevant, and fun. The message series you asked them to come back for needs to be great and well thought-out.
8. Thank your volunteers.
Pulling off Christmas Eve would be impossible without amazing volunteers. Whether you are a small church or a mega church, you can something special for your volunteers. Have great snacks and goodies for them to munch on between services, or maybe give them a Christmas ornament with the church logo and year on it that is only given to Christmas Eve volunteers. Or, send a handwritten thank you note. The options are endless.
Having people return after our Christmas Eve service isn’t about numbers or metrics. It is about people fully engaging in a relationship with Christ. This service, along with Easter, is a time when we see visitors that we may never see any other time throughout the year. We have a great opportunity that we must make the most of not only to share the message of Christ but also use to draw people into the relationship aspect of salvation and the church.