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Christmas 2022 falls on a Sunday. Christmas services are some of the most-attended worship services of the year. This creates a good opportunity to reach out to people who might not attend your church regularly. Here are some ideas to help you plan a successful Christmas Day or Christmas Eve service for your congregation and visitors.

Be Authentic - That doesn’t mean you can’t add some special touches; just be sure they’re consistent with the tone and style of your regular worship services. Christmas is a special time and you understandably want to make your service stand out from the rest of the year. However, don’t forget the importance of portraying an honest view of your church to potential members. You don’t want people to come to your church the next weekend expecting a service just like the Christmas one, and then be disappointed.

Set the Tone - Music is an integral part of any service, but it’s especially important for Christmas services. The songs you select will influence the tone of the entire church service. From classic and nostalgic to contemporary and modern, the right tone will make a memorable night. Decorations create a certain mood. Think about the feelings you want to convey and decorate the church accordingly.

Include Kids - Many families attend Christmas services together, and that often means more children than usual. Find a way to accommodate or even include children in the Christmas worship service. You might hand out Christmas-themed coloring or activity books to keep them occupied, invite them up on stage to sing a simple Christmas song, or plan some other suitable activity.

Promote Now – But isn’t it too early? No! People need to see and hear about events many times before it sticks. Make sure people can find yours by promoting it on social media channels, your church’s website, other local websites, and printed materials. Also, let your members know that they’re encouraged to bring their family for the Christmas church services you planned!

Incorporate an Outreach Effort - If your church has been participating in a Christmas-themed outreach event, tie that back into the service somehow. For example, if you’ve been collecting money for a charitable cause, announce the total funds raised to date. Remind attendees of the importance of a selfless spirit, not just during Christmas, but all year long.

Follow Up - Find a subtle way to collect basic contact information from attendees, including name and email or phone number. A connection card inside your bulletin works well and have a place they can drop it off on their way out or maybe drop it in the offering. That way, you can follow up with them and invite them to future services.

Serve Refreshments - Even if your church doesn’t normally do this, make an effort to serve refreshments after the Christmas services. This will encourage people to stay a little longer and build connections. These connections may even prompt the occasional attendees to start coming more regularly. This is also a good alternative time to gather contact information from visitors, rather than the beginning of the service. People will be relaxed as they’re enjoying refreshments, and may be more willing to share their information.

Create an Experience - Try to create an experience in your service – something that inspires awe in attendees. This will make it easier for them to remember the experience and hopefully return in the future. How you create this moment is up to your imagination. Give everyone a candle as they arrive, and then light the candles in the middle of the service while everyone reflects on the Nativity story. Or plan a special musical performance at the end. There are endless possibilities!

Plan Seating - Most churches experience a large influx of visitors during the holiday season. Make sure you consider this in your seating arrangements for the event. You may have to buy extra chairs and create an overflow seating area for Christmas visitors.

Stream Your Services - A pretty obvious way to connect with your online congregation is to offer your Christmas and/or Christmas Eve services digitally. This will allow those people who are out of town or busy with family to still engage. Live streaming provides another opportunity to reach those people who plan to attend on Christmas who normally wouldn’t attend other services. This may even make them more comfortable because they can “go to church” without having to go to a physical building.

Next week we will share tips on streaming your Christmas service!

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