Christmas is usually the most highly attended time of year for churches, and provides a great opportunity to allow regular attenders, seekers, and out of town extended family to experience something special. It can also be one of the most difficult services to plan for the same reason.
We spoke with Todd FieldsDirector of Worship Leader Development at Northpoint Community Church, about how they prepare for their Christmas service each year.
We also pulled a great video out of the vault with Pastor Jeff Henderson featuring some fantastic advice on preparing your Christmas sermon.
Here are seven tips for creating a winning Christmas service that engages visitors, but doesn’t cause you to lose your sanity in the process.
- PLAN AHEAD
We often say, Sundays always coming. For those of us in ministry, it really is. Christmas is always coming as well. Dont let it sneak up on you. Keep it in mind as you go throughout the year. As you find potential creative/engaging ideas, write them down, or put the web-links in Evernote
Collaboration more often than not leads to the best end product. Involve the RIGHT people on your team and communicate often to those who arent in the room so they can give you feedback/input. Too many people involved in planning can stall the process. Choose the right people and move toward the momentum when ideas are being offered.
Many of the most engaging ideas weve (Northpoint) come up with have come from culture. Scan the web/Youtube for creative ideas that will engage the audience. As Steve Jobs said, Good artists copy great artists steal. According to those that worked closely with Jobs they believe the word steal” as Steve was intending would actually be make it their own.
Back to the i-band opener. We were scared to death that it wouldnt fly. Dont risk just to risk, but if the team is moved by an idea/experience, the attenders will as well. Theres nothing like being so excited to share something youve prepared for people that you get nervous and excited about sharing it. If the team is stoked more than likely the people will be as well.
5. Find Common Ground
Remember that a lot of people in your service(s) are not regular church attenders so they may not know the “lingo.” One of the best things you can do is find common ground with them when planning your sermon. One way to do this is think about what they’re feeling and dealing with. Are they struggling with the pace of Christmas, or the stress of Christmas? These are things everyone can identify with.
6. Just Start
It’s easy to procrastinate writing your sermon when you don’t know where to start. The solution? Just start. One tip Jeff recommends is to NOT open your computer. Instead, open up the Bible and begin copying scriptures on a piece of paper. You might be surprised at what the Holy Spirit shows just by writing.
7. Be Mindful
Be mindful of what attendees have going on after the service, and don’t forget that your volunteers have things going on as well.
Here are more practical tips for preaching Christmas with Jeff.
Unfortunately, when a lot of people think of church, they immediately think irrelevant, boring, and/or out of touch. With a little planning though, you and your team can help them see and experience beauty and creativity that ultimately leads to an encounter with Jesus and changes their paradigm for what church can be.