Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 194: Thoughts on Christmas Eve Service from a Pastor

Each year many churches scramble to have an out of this world Christmas Eve service which really isn't a bad thing. I know for Radiant Fellowship we really enjoy as we give a great message, do a kids program and the worship team will lead us in some great songs and even cover some Trans-Siberian Orchestra music this year. However, out of our planning meetings and with some observations I have made over the years...I thought I would share some thoughts on Christmas eve service from a pastors perspective.

1. Don't spend money on advertising: If someone has been going to one church all year, it is a safe assumption that just because you run an ad in the paper or do a mass mailing blitz...those people will still not come to your church on Christmas Eve. Which leads to my next point.

2. Tradition: If someone has been going to the same church all year, I do not think a catch ad will make them jump ship for your church because of a catchy program. Year after year people go to the same church they are used to for Christmas Eve service and they take their family. You can bring out the big guns for your service and I am not sure it will change anything. People become very traditional this time of year which is not bad.

3. Don't overkill: The worship team at the church I pastor is doing some Trans-Siberian Orchestra songs this year and I can promise you it will be spot on. Our worship team is predominantly professional musicians (teach, record, play gigs, have degrees, etc.) so for them to do these songs is a bit of a stretch but nothing out of the norm for what you might see any given Sunday. You won't see it on the 26th of December because our church is going to be laid back as we all recover from sugar comas we got the day before hehe. Here is a simple rule for churches...however you brought people into your church is going to be way you will have to keep them in your church. If your church goes all out on Christmas Eve with its program and builds up this falseness of what your church DNA is really like, those same people will come on a normal Sunday and see something different. This could cause them to bail. Be real and be genuine of who and what your church is.

4. Do a service: The first church I served at the senior pastor would always go on family vacation over this time and thus our church would not have a Christmas eve service. I asked if we would have a service the next year and he responded, "only if you do it." Keep in mind I WAS THE YOUTH PASTOR and this is common sense stuff for a church to do. So, I took the reins and we had Christmas Eve services. This really is a special time for a church to come together in a nice way to remember what really matters.

5. The sacred hour: No matter how much someone loves your church and normally sticks around after service on a normal Sunday...your head will be on the chopping block if the service goes more than an hour. People have places to go and people to see on Christmas Eve. Don't be offended if the normal people at church bail right away after service without saying, "hi". I don't blame them...in fact I would sit in that back row and when the final amen is uttered...I AM GONE!

Feel free to share some other thoughts you might have about Christmas Eve services!

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