We're just 3 days from Christmas Eve Sunday, pastors and ministry leaders can I give some last minute words as you pray and prepare for hosting services with members, family, friends, guests & visitors?
1. Don't Out-Think The Room - I get it. It's hard to stay fresh when you preach 45-50 Sundays a year to keep things fresh and innovative. This isn't the time for that. Kevin DeYoung had a really good post on avoiding being cute at Christmas. We'd be wise to pause and keep the main thing the main thing - that Christ was born and good news had come for all mankind.
2. Sing the Carols - A couple radio stations in our area for the month of December have gone 24/7 Christmas music. In half an hour you'll likely hear a handful of solid, Christ-focused, Kingdom-announcing carols. Sing those. Christmas provides you a wonderful time to exalt the Christ Child while singing what's familiar. There's richness in those carols, and we can never tire of singing "Joy to the World, the Lord has come..."
3. Keep Christ the Focus - Rudolph, Frosty, and yes even Santa have a place and are fun elements to the Christmas season. Bake cookies, sing Jingle Bells, watch the Christmas specials on TV, cringe when Cousin Eddie shows up in the RV, and if your family does Santa totally enjoy those cookies left out! But for our worship, leave that out. Focus all your attention and gaze and wonder on Christ. The shepherds dropped everything to worship, the Wise Men travelled for maybe 2 years to fix their eyes on the Savior, and Simeon waited his whole life to hold the hands that would be pierced for our sin.
4. Follow up with your guests - It's so easy for us to look down on the "CEOs" who attend this weekend, the Christmas and Easter Only crowd. But they are visitors, guests, prospects. Follow up with them. Don't make a stupid remark about "well it's nice to see some of you from last year again" or something like that. Be grateful they're at your church. And give them a phone call after Christmas thanking them for visiting.
5. Have fun! - This is a special season, so make the most of it. Enjoy your service this weekend. Worship with your family. One of my greatest joys last Christmas Eve during our service was holding my then 2 year old and singing Christmas songs to him. It really does only come once a year, so enjoy it!
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.