Is your church ready for Christmas? If you think it’s too early to ask that question – think again!
Your church members and people in your community are already starting to think about their Christmas plans. Gifts, family gatherings, parties – and when and where to attend church services.
And according to Lifeway Research, “Non-Christians are more likely to come to worship services on Christmas Eve than any other day of the year, including Easter.”
The sooner you start preparing for the Christmas season, the better your programs and services will be for your church families and all the guests you are sure to welcome for the holidays.
And this can lead to increased attendance throughout the year. It can spark more giving from your members and guests. It can inspire renewed engagement with church families, especially those who have rarely attended regular services. It can even be the beginning of someone’s personal relationship with Christ!
Start your Christmas planning now, and the impact can be tremendous.
Sharefaith has developed an Early Christmas To-Do List that you and your ministry teams can get started on now. Here’s what you need to do…
- Get Your Church Website Ready!
Your website is the digital “front door” to your church. It’s where church members and visitors will go first to find out what you have planned for the Christmas season. There are several ways you can tweak your website to get people informed and excited about your Christmas programs:
- Put Christmas on your homepage: you can start early with a rotating banner or alert bar, and then dedicate your entire home page to a Christmas theme after Thanksgiving.
- Dedicate a specific page just for Christmas: create an easy to remember URL (example: yourchurch.com/Christmas). Include service times, locations, and specific information for visitors. And make sure to add a button that lets viewers add events to their calendar!
- Feature past Christmas messages, choir performances, or kids’ programs on your website. This will let web visitors know what to expect and get them excited for your Christmas offerings.
- Prepare to Put Your Social Media to Work
Strategize now for how to build excitement for your Christmas services on social media. You should use clear, branded images that give service times and themes. You can also create a Christmas visual telling visitors where to park, which entrance to use, and what to expect. Make it personal by creating short videos of your pastoral staff inviting people to join you this Christmas.
You can also think now about special Christmas campaigns for social media. Something like “12 Verses of Christmas” can show how Jesus’ birth is told throughout Scripture, from the Old Testament to the New. (Sharefaith has compiled over two dozen Bible verses about Christmas here.)
And remember to make all your Christmas content shareable! Encourage your followers to share your posts, as a way to invite their friends to Christmas services. You can even create a #hashtag to bring together content for your Christmas events. Then, encourage your members to use the hashtag by promoting it in your bulletin, website, and services.
- Create a Plan for Inviting Visitors to Attend Your Services
Christmas is one of the biggest opportunities for outreach that your church has each year. If you want people to attend, just ask! You can actively invite people to join you for Christmas in a couple of ways:
- Use your email lists: do you have lists of email subscribers? Past visitors? Or even inactive members? Create a heartfelt, welcoming email inviting them to attend your Christmas programs. This is also something that your members can forward on to people they may want to invite.
- Create invitation cards and encourage your members to hand them out: They don’t have to be fancy or elaborate. Use your Christmas graphics (which we’ll talk about next), include service times, and just say, “You’re invited!”. A personal invite goes a long way.
- Start Thinking about Your Christmas Themes and Graphics
It’s important to create Christmas content that is vivid and inspiring. You want a theme that represents your church, and that is well branded. And you don’t need a team of graphic designers to make it happen! There are plenty of amazing graphics available that you can use.
Sharefaith has a whole universe of Christmas images and templates – you can explore them here.
And once you have your graphics created? Make sure that you are consistent with them. Utilize them for your website, social media, and print materials. The more cohesive everything looks, the more recognition you’ll create among visitors and members alike.
- Get a Jump on Your Kids’ Christmas Ministries
Your church will welcome lots of families at Christmastime. Your regular members will be there. They’ll likely bring family members and kids visiting from out of town. And lots of first-time Christmas guests will have kids in tow. So of course you’ll want to put every bit as much effort into your kids Christmas programs as you do for the grownups.
Sharefaith’s kids’ ministry curriculum is a great place to start. There are Sunday school lessons, Christmas bible stories, and specific Bible verses that work great for kids. Best of all, your efforts will help children remember the true reason for the Christmas season. And first-time guests with kids will appreciate and remember how much thought you put into your children’s programs.
- Plan Ahead for Your Volunteers
All the plans we’ve discussed will help bring crowds of familiar faces and new friends to your Christmas programs. And you’ll need volunteers to make those programs run smoothly.
But during Christmas, some of your loyal volunteers will likely be out of town visiting family. The last thing you want is to realize at the last minute that you’re understaffed.
Now is the time to find out who’s available. You can use your church management software (ChMS) to get them signed up. Go ahead and get people assigned to specific tasks. Give yourself plenty of time to schedule and prepare any extra training that may be necessary.
And for new volunteers, you will need time to conduct your background screening – especially if they’ll be working with children.
- Make Sure You Have Giving Options Ready for Your Congregation
Christmas is a time of giving. Members and guests will feel inspired to support your ministries. It’s important to think ahead about how your church can be ready to accept such generosity during your Christmas services.
Your church giving software should provide a variety of options, including:
- Recurring Giving, which simplifies stewardship for your members and provides your church with steady, predictable income month after month;
- Text Giving, so members can text their gift in seconds to a phone number you choose;
- Mobile Giving, which lets your congregation give quickly with just a few taps of the screen;
- Kiosk Giving, so you can accept on-site digital gifts at your church;
- QR Scan Giving, with codes embedded in your bulletin and on worship materials that members can scan & give with ease.
- Get Ready Now to Follow-Up with Christmas Guests
With all your planning for Christmas services, don’t forget what needs to happen after this special day. Follow-up with visitors is one of the most important parts of your Christmas programs.
Your ChMS can help you with this task as well. You can gather information through guest cards or online registration. Keep track of who attended so you can reach out after. Make notes about specific questions guests had, or any interest they showed in specific ministries.
If you can have someone personally reach out to visitors, it will go a long way. You could also offer a small gift to visitors. The gift can include an information sheet about other upcoming events, small groups, camps for students, and more. Give your guests easy opportunities to stay connected!
Christmas is a joyful time. But it’s also a lot of work for churches! As you make your early preparations – even when you’re bogged down in details – remember what’s important …
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:10-11 New American Standard Bible
Get started now with this Early Christmas To-Do List. You’ll be better prepared to share the Good News! And there’s still time to strengthen your ministries with ShareFaith Suite – our game-changing family of church tech. Connect with us here to start a free trial today.