How are you preparing for Christmas at your church?

The path of least resistance often takes over. That means you will likely recruit the same people who are reliable and will be in town for ushering, greeting, playing music, singing, altar guild, etc. Then we often pull out from the file or electronic file what we did last year and the year before that to write the service. Then we begin to think about the message….but wait…what are we missing?

What we are missing is an opportunity to make prayerful, wise and thoughtful adjustments to what we did and how we did it. We miss an opportunity to be intentional to reach more people this Christmas.

  1. Did you have a post Christmas review last year on how things went? Did you make notes that you can refer to? What were you disappointed in? What could have been addressed that wasn’t? What could be improved? What needs attention? It’s easy to just roll with another year that is similar to last year (we’re tired after all). But it’s not too late. Think back so that you can move forward with intentionality.
  2. How could you mobilize your members to involve and invite more people to come? Hand out business cards with your church name, address, web site, service times etc. Prepare small flyers to give to their neighbors, co-workers, friends at the club, etc. Give a mini teach on what to say, how to say it. Demonstrate it as a skit in church. Be simple and direct in showing them what to do and how to do it. We may assume it will come naturally but it doesn’t.
  3. How will you engage your members to be the best “hosts” for those who may not have been to church in a long time? What preferred “words” and “behaviors” can you guide them to use? What can you gently urge them not to use? How can you emphasize and give them ideas and suggestions for extending the relationship with newcomers beyond the Christmas eve service?
  4. How will you capture the names and contact information? What is preferred is an organic method through natural conversation with members. A backup may be some form of response sheet in the bulletin or narthex. A facebook page, website, twitter and instagram account is a minimum requirement so people can check out the church and keep up with its ministries on their terms.
  5. How will you invite people to continue a relationship with your church? What will you schedule that will be newbie friendly where they can feel like they belong and will be making a difference for God? It should most definitely not be limited to a Sunday worship service. It definitely should on the other hand include activities that you are doing in the community, how you are serving others, educational opportunities, fellowship opportunities, etc.
  6. What do you have planned after Christmas to reflect together, to celebrate what happened and collaborate on how it can be even better December 2018? Set the date with all of those who helped if not the whole church.

It’s way too easy just to fall into what was done before. You can begin to prepare the church’s funeral if that’s what you are doing.

It’s also not about programs and whiz bang activities. People want to associate with those who are making a difference for others. They want to be with people who authentically love God and love them, not those who just want to promote their church. They can sniff that out a mile away.

Instead it is about group norms and behaviors that are different from what people experience in society. So stop what you are doing and do something intentionally different to lead yourself first and your people second to be and do better for those who are far from Jesus. This will be a game changer for your life and ministry and church. What a great Christmas gift!

Merry Christmas!

Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, or

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