Christmas is a time when there is hustling and bustling in stores, people are visiting relatives they haven’t seen all year (or longer!), and when it comes to church, you’ll likely see a few more new faces.

Whether it’s the sporadic member, the major-holiday-only attender, new guest, or even a relative of a regular attendee, this is a time of year when you are likely expecting additional people to connect with your church in some way. For many, this will be the primary time those individuals will connect and receive encouragement from a church in the year.

What an incredible opportunity we have!

As we enter this season, here are a few things we want to encourage you to keep in mind for your Christmas service(s) this year:

1) Remember that people are still hurting and recovering from the disruption over the past two years.

Be mindful to acknowledge and consider that things aren’t “back to normal” yet. Over the last two years, many of us were cut off entirely from our community of support or were pushed to interact with them through a screen because of the pandemic. This was a major disruption that will likely have lasting effects for years to come. The best way to support people this holiday season is to make sure your church is a place where they can find stability and hope.

2) Be sure you have a first-time visitor follow-up process.

After new visitors walk out your door, do you have a plan to connect with them? Invite them back? Take some time before new people arrive to make sure you have a clear follow-up process. This is important to have set up year-round, but it’s doubly important around the holidays. And if you already have a follow-up process, take some time to review it before your Christmas services.

3) Don’t be afraid to approach Christmas with the same innovation you approached it with last year.

Last year, churches had to consider how to reach people when they couldn’t gather together in a physical space. As a result, many churches got creative with ways to connect with their community and offered additional resources to promote connection. While in many places, in-person gatherings are nearing their usual capacity, that doesn’t mean you should forgo a fresh approach this year.

Online resources, livestreams, video calls, and group study guides are a great way to reach a wider base of people than you may be able to with a physical service alone. What methods did you use last year that were particularily successful? Consider offering the most popular of these, or a version of it, again!

4) Make sure you are engaging people outside of Sunday.

We have a tendency to focus all our efforts into our Sunday service or Christmas Eve services, but what about the other six days of the week? Instead of only focusing on the service, plan ahead to have encouraging emails, text messages, weekly resources, or even some Christmas cards throughout the holiday season. Also, consider how you can be a special blessing to people around this season. If there is someone that doesn’t have family around to celebrate Christmas with this year, invite them to an event, go caroling at their house, or do something special to remind them they are valued and supported.

5) Don’t wait until next year to review how your Christmas service went.

If you don’t take the time to do this right after your Christmas service, then it will likely be 11 months before you consider it again and, by that time, you won’t remember. By taking the time to review what you did well and what still needs improvement while it’s all fresh in your mind, you’ll be that much more prepared for next year!

6) Let the Truth of this season impact your heart, too.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in decorating, planning the message, and making sure that the service is just right that you forget to let the truth of Christmas impact your own heart. This is the time of year that we remember the incredible truth that Jesus came to earth as a humble child, fully experiencing our humanity, to freely offer us salvation, redemption, and hope. Don’t merely focus on communicating this truth to others; be sure to meditate on it in your own life and walk with God.

This Christmas, remember that the most important thing you can do is to share the Good News with others. That our voices might join in with the shepherds, wise men, and angels in saying, “…I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people…” (Luke 2:10 ESV)

Merry Christmas from all of us here at One Church Software!