Tag: christmas eve

How To Plan For Christmas At Your Church

How To Plan For Christmas At Your Church

Do you hear that? It’s September and I can already hear the jingle bells in the distance. With Christmas on the horizon, here’s a look at the planning process at our church and ideas you can implement when planning Christmas this year.

1. It starts in January.
After our staff returns from holiday break, we review what went well, what didn’t, and what was missing from our Christmas services. Often, our Lead Pastor will have an idea in his mind for the coming year’s Christmas series. I save these notes in Evernote so I can bring them back around when Christmas planning begins.

2. Gather ideas through the year.
I save articles and ideas to Evernote all throughout the year as I come across them. Church Marketing Sucks has oodles of useful articles related to Christmas Eve and planning.

3. Schedule a meeting in September.
In early September, I schedule a Christmas planning meeting with our Lead Pastor, Worship Pastor, and Executive Pastor. We review the Christmas sermon series, nail down location and service times for Christmas Eve and begin brainstorming ideas for the Christmas Eve service. Depending on the size of your church and what you want to accomplish for your Christmas series, you may want to have that meeting earlier than September. But for us, September works.

After this smaller meeting, we will bring up the plan to all staff during a weekly staff meeting for feedback and additional creative ideas.

4. Create a plan.
After those meetings, I begin crafting a plan in Asana. This outlines the tasks I’ll need to accomplish based on the ideas we discussed for the services. This plan covers everything from Christmas Eve graphics, social media, promotional materials, and creative service elements. It helps me stay on track during the busy season.

5. Work the plan.
Once the details are set and the plan is made, we’re off and running. We begin hard promotion for Christmas the week after Thanksgiving. We will do teaser posts on social media and light promotion the week of Thanksgiving as people begin to get into the Christmas spirit. Promotional and creative elements are determined by the series messaging and the theme of the Christmas Eve services.

For example, one year we made it a big event with horse-drawn carriage rides and family photos before the service. We did a larger outside marketing push that year with radio ads and mailers. We’ve done a simpler, traditional service and emphasized personal invitations to family and friends. We created social media graphics and invite cards so our people would have tools when inviting their guests.

 

Christmas is by far my favorite time of year to work at a church. It’s also one of the busiest. As church communicators, it’s important to stay focused on why we are celebrating and not lose focus by checking our to-do list twice. This means giving yourself margin for prayer and time with the Lord – another reason planning ahead is important!

What about you? How do you plan for Christmas at your church?

Resources:

Church Marketing Sucks
SundayMag.tv
God Rest Ye Stressed Communicators

 

How We Did Christmas Eve in a Movie Theater

How We Did Christmas Eve in a Movie Theater

This year we held our Christmas Eve services in our regular meeting space – a movie theater.

In previous years, we’ve rented venues that were large enough to hold our entire church (about 700 people) but none were available this Christmas. Even though we knew the space itself would present some challenges, we felt it could be strategic as many people would be out shopping and even attending movies on Christmas Eve. So, we plunged forward.

Here’s how we did it.

Tickets
Because each theater has limited seats, we used Eventbrite and had people reserve tickets. We set the limit at 15% above seating capacity, knowing that some would take more tickets than they needed. Next year, we could probably set it closer to 20-25%. Tony Morgan has a great article about Christmas Eve tickets.

christmas-eve-line

Live and Video Venues
We had a live venue and a video venue, just like we do on Sundays. Attendees could reserve tickets for either time. This allowed us to maximize seating for that night. We opened the theater doors 15 minutes prior to the start of the service so folks were lining up around the building. This created a lot of buzz and excitement outside.

Environment
Making a movie theater look and feel “Christmasy” was a bit tricky. Movies were still playing that day so we only had about an hour to set up the actual theaters. Thankfully, we were able to get into the lobby space at noon.

IMG_5597We shared the lobby with movie goers so we created a distinct entrance for those attending the service. A very generous church member donated Christmas trees and poinsettia to help make the theater feel more like Christmas. Hospitality team members were scattered throughout to assist and answer questions.

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CE Entrance

 

 

 

 

Promotion
We passed out 4×6 invite cards two weeks prior. We created a landing page on our website with all the information and pointed people there to reserve tickets.

We placed a banner ad in the lobby of our movie theater 3 weeks prior with our Christmas Eve design and service times. We placed a large emphasis on personal invites and social media sharing.

At the end of the Christmas Eve service, we passed out invite cards to our January sermon series.

CE bulletin
6×9 bulletin with a tear-off connection card.

Bulletin
We printed a 6×9 perforated card for our bulletin. The front had information for first time guests and our Christmas offering. The back had space for notes. We keep it simple so people could focus on the gospel message, without the clutter of announcements.

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Pre-service countdown included pictures people had posted as part of our social media contest.

Social Media
Since our sermon series was called ‘Tis the Season, our Lead Pastor approached me about creating a social media contest where people submitted their best Christmas photos…whatever the Christmas season meant for them. We created a hashtag, picked a few winners and announced them at the service. The winners got a free Southbridge t-shirt and a Starbucks gift card. We also streamed photos in for our pre-service countdown.

Christmas Eve is always my favorite night at our church, and this year was no different. Our amazing volunteers stepped up to serve, the gospel was shared and people accepted Christ.

What about you? How did your church celebrate Christmas Eve?