As church leaders, especially in the times we’re facing, we have a responsibility to help our parishioners and congregants celebrate the holidays with a sense of meaning and significance. So, how can you prepare your church this holiday season?
Here are a few suggestions for making and communicating your plans for church activities this Christmas season:
Thanks to the continuation of COVID strains and vaccination statuses, this will be a Christmas like no other. Not even last year. Many people are trying to create safe holiday activities with friends and family. The same may be true of church activities. Rather than raising anyone’s expectations that this year will be the same as all others at church, do your best to set church members’ expectations regarding your Christmas programming.
Focus on the positive
This year’s Christmas pageant or large choir concert will be different. Don’t focus on what’s NOT there. Focus on what you ARE offering. Letting people know what IS possible will help them enjoy those holiday events and attach special meaning to them this year. Offering virtual or online options for attending will help people who prefer to stay home participate as much as they are able. Being positive and detailed will help manage people’s expectations.
As mentioned above, this year’s church activities may not be the same. So? Don’t try to make them the same! This will only lead to disappointment. Scale back as needed, cut out programs that cannot be done safely, or offer them online. You will need to prepare to help people deal with any emotional impact of these changes. Try to create new, simple Christmas traditions that will be great for this year and years to come.
Focus on giving
Even though some people are still struggling financially due to the pandemic or rising costs, they can still intentionally give back to the community in meaningful ways. Encourage people to give financially as they are able and be involved in service projects, food drives, or clothing donation opportunities. Everyone can give something, financial or non-financial, and Christmas is the time to do it.
Involve the community
Christmas is a great time to involve the community in church activities. Whether it is service projects or special activities, people love to come to church at Christmas. They love the decorations and the festivities, and the programming for children. Even though this year might be different, the church can still reach out to families in need. Leading up to Christmas, make sure your church events are open and welcoming, and be sure to offer a clear invitation to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services. As the Church, we can show the love and compassion of Jesus to the community, especially at Christmas, but all year long as well.
Focus on what matters
Above all, as church leaders, it is our duty to remind our parishioners and congregants that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. This Christmas, it is important to remember that Jesus is indeed the reason for the season. Offer opportunities that take the focus away from the commercialized version of Christmas and draw the church’s attention back to the authentic meaning of the holiday.
Preparing your church for the holidays will be different again this year, but with an intentional effort, it can be one we will remember forever, for all the best reasons.
For more blogs on planning for the Holidays visit Church Growth!