Christmas is just a few weeks away! Can you believe it? We are all dreaming of sugar plum fairies, trays of cookies, and precious time with our families.
The Christmas season is a magical time and it is also one of the greatest seasons of opportunity for the Church. Christmas and Easter are the two most attended church services of the entire year across the board. These special parts of the year are when people of all backgrounds tend to flock to houses of worship regardless of their church attendance.
This year is especially unique because it is our first “semi-normal” Christmas since before the pandemic.
Last year, many churches held their Christmas services entirely online and the majority had a combination of in-person and digital services. This year, larger gatherings have become more commonplace and Christian services are expected to be booming.
There is much pressure this year, as there is every year, to highly prioritize our Christmas services. This is because our Christmas services greatly impact our growth as a church and affect the trajectory of the church in the coming year.
When we talk about growth, we are not just talking about tithes. We are speaking to our inward growth as faith communities which expands to outward growth.
Christmas is a season that helps us focus on what really matters. Amid all of the chaos of the past 18 months, Christmas serves as a reminder of our Hope that has come into the world. This hope is just as important for us “seasoned Christians” to hear as it is for those who are on the fringes of faith.
This reminder of Hope is essential for our own personal growth. It helps remind us why we care about church in the first place. That hope within us then propels us to focus on reaching more people and growing our church attendance.
How do we go about reaching others through our Christmas services in a way that will stimulate future growth?
Speak to the heart
As we mentioned, this Christmas season comes when truly, we all need a little bit of hope.
Last Christmas may have felt more like a blur than a day of joy for most people. We were all, in a sense, still stuck in the confusion of 2020. Many were mourning the loss of family members, friends, hopes, and dreams. We all had a shared experience of grief last year.
This year during Christmas, we have an opportunity to speak directly to that grief.
It can be all too easy to shy away from the pain for the sake of pressing forward. But what we understand from the heart of the Gospel is that we must walk through the valley to reach the joy on the other side.
We must recognize the suffering to experience true hope.
The year 2020 was a death, but there is no need for resurrection without death. And this year, that hope of resurrection is here.
Christmas is the perfect reminder that out of the darkness comes a marvelous light. Isaiah 9:2 reminds us of this hope:
“The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.”
This Light has come, and His name is Jesus! This is exactly what Christmas is all about, and this is why we have reason to celebrate. But this message of hope will fall on deaf ears unless we speak to the heart of the people who will be at our Christmas services.
Forget the fundraising
Christmas falls in the highest month of giving in the entire year. Because of the spirit of the season (and the last chance for tax-deductible donations!), giving runs free during December. Churches and nonprofit organizations especially see an influx of generosity and tithes during this season.
But what if, in light of the conversation of growth, fundraising actually wasn't the point? We all know that bringing in financial support is an essential part of church growth, but it is far from what should be the main focus.
If you just focus on people, the financial aspect tends to fall in place.
People have a tendency to be generous in very specific circumstances. They do not just throw their resources at any old thing. They give generously to causes they actually believe in. People are not mindless consumers who will just buy anything you try to sell them. They are very conscious of where they utilize their resources.
Beyond this, Christmas is not meant to be a time where we solely focus on raising as much money as possible. Instead, it is a time where we focus on getting as many people to hear the Gospel as possible. It is from an infatuation with the message of hope that people’s hearts begin to change. It is from this place only that heart-felt, God-inspired generosity occurs. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 sums it up perfectly:
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Our focus should not be on convincing people to give their money, it should be on preaching the Gospel which is the ultimate expression of generosity. We experience a God who gives.
“For God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
Something beautiful happens when this story of generosity sinks deep into your heart; it makes you a generous person. You become so full of gratitude for what Christ has done that you are compelled to be generous in a like manner.
So forget the fundraising. Focus on the people. From there, all of the monetary needs will fall into place.
“You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.” Ephesians 4:20 (MSG)
Hope is only the beginning…
Once you have captivated your audience through speaking to their heart and sharing the hope of God’s gift to humanity, some next steps are sure to be presented.
We don’t want the message of hope just to be received one Sunday and then forgotten for the next 4+ months until Easter rolls around.
The goal is for Christmas, not to be the end-all-be-all for our attendees. Instead, we want it to be the beginning of a long and lasting journey in our faith community!
Christmas is not the final destination, but it is the on-ramp for our churches. It is a vital step towards bringing people along the journey and traversing the highway of faith alongside a community.
The first vital part of our Christmas service is a clear presentation of the Gospel and its power to transform our lives. This message opens up the door to those in attendance to receive Jesus, maybe for the first time in their entire lives! It also provides comfort for those who are mourning this holiday season.
We also want to make it clear to those at the service that the message of Hope is not reserved for Christmas. It is available every single day. The second vital part of our Christmas service should be providing our attendees with the next steps. The journey begins with salvation, but discipleship is the next step.
Encouraging our Christmas attendees to get plugged into a small group or life group is key. While we want to encourage regular church attendance, we know that attendance of a small group is essential for lasting growth.
Providing other information about baptisms, volunteer opportunities, and other areas of involvement is helpful too! But that information doesn’t necessarily need to be the primary focus. In due time, those who are serious about diving into the community will eventually get more involved. It begins with walking alongside them in their faith journey through intentional discipleship and receiving the Word.
This is only the beginning
If you haven’t noticed by now, we’ll state it again: Christmas is only the beginning of our growth as churches!
This season lends us the opportunity to speak to the hearts of people who are desperate for hope and light. It also opens the door for us to stir up passion in people who will eventually partner with us in our mission.
At the end of the day, Christmas is about offering the ultimate message of hope to the world. It is the very first page on a long journey of following Jesus our Savior. It is a time to glorify this Wonderful Counselor who humbled Himself, took on flesh, died for our sins, and rose from the dead to set us free.
The story of Christmas is the very first step on the road to freedom and truly everlasting hope. We believe that in this season especially, your church could truly help to transform so many souls that are desperate for hope.
Our prayer is that Christmas will be just the beginning of something beautiful in your faith community!
If you need extra support transforming your Christmas from a service to a catalyst for church growth, Pro MediaFire can help! Our team of designers, social media experts, video editors, and more can help you connect and engage with your community even after Christmas ends.