Should You Cancel Christmas Eve Services?

If you look at current church trends, you’ll notice that Christmas has almost caught up with Easter as the best time to reach new people in your community. While that hasn’t been the case at my church, that’s what the statistics are showing, which means there’s added pressure on church leaders to make the most of Christmas. I’ve felt it, and I’m sure many of you have as well. But, what if this year we took a different approach to Christmas?

Now, before I get labeled a Grinch or a Scrooge, let me just say that I love the Christmas season just as much as any other average American. And I love reaching people with the love of Jesus even more than that.

But is adding another service or doing a service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day really the best decision for most of us? Is it really worth what you’re asking people to give up?

Many times we’re asking our volunteers to skip out on their own family gatherings so they can serve at these services. We’re asking them to take one of the few days off they get for the holiday and spend it at church.

For what? Because we believe unchurched families are more likely to show up on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day than they are on December 22nd or 23rd.

Let’s say that’s true. Is that worth taking you and your volunteers away from family traditions? I’m not sure it is, but maybe.

I tell you what, if you’re still on the fence, go back a couple years and pull the names of every Christmas Eve or Christmas Day visitor you had. Then check to see if they’re still coming to your church.

If it’s working, keep doing it, but if not maybe it’s time you give yourself and your volunteers a break this Christmas. Your families will appreciate it.

Does your church do Christmas Eve or Day services? Why or why not? Leave a comment and let us know. I’d love to hear your opinions. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

Should Church be Fun?

That’s the question we’re trying to answer today, and I’m honestly not sure. I certainly don’t think it should be boring, which is what a lot of churches are. But should it be fun? And is it wrong for church to be fun? I feel like sometimes churches are judged for being fun, like it’s a sin to have fun in church. But perhaps they’re just mad because their church isn’t fun. Maybe it would help if we look at some advantages of being fun.

  1. People want to be a part of something fun. If you ask people if they’d rather go to the dentist or to the movies, 99% of them are going to pick the movies. Why? Because it’s more fun. You go to the dentist out of necessity. You go to the movies because you enjoy it. Do people enjoy your church, or are they going out of necessity?
  2. Fun can change someone’s day. People often walk into our churches weighed down by burdens, guilt, and heartbreak. Often they need someone to talk to and a shoulder to cry on, but sometimes I think the best medicine for them is to experience something fun. Do people walk out of your church with a better attitude than when they walked in?
  3. Fun is easy to measure. The measure of fun is found on the faces of those in your service each week. How many smiles do you see each week? How often are you hearing laughter? Not every sermon you preach is going to be fun, but every sermon that points towards Jesus leads us to joy.
  1. Fun is contagious. There are certain people who are just fun to be around. Then, there are certain people that you try to avoid each week. Fun attracts others. That’s why the best leaders are often the people who know how to have the most fun.

By just looking at the list above, I can see there are definite advantages for a church that chooses to be fun. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I’m glad I’m a part of a church that’s fun.

You may disagree, and if so I’d love to know why. Would you leave me a comment below? If you’re interested in growing the church you serve, please subscribe to the blog so I can send you tips each week on church growth, leadership, and more.

Every Church Welcome Needs these Five Elements

Hi, welcome to the blog. My, that’s some weather we’ve been having, isn’t it? This is unfortunately how many churches welcome people to church. It doesn’t connect with people. It doesn’t communicate value, and it’s not even that welcoming. We have to do better than that.

Now, for those not quite familiar with the terminology, the church welcome is the critical time that someone from church welcomes people, mainly the guests, to the service.

I like to place the welcome right after the first worship song. This gives time for the people who’ve been hanging out in the lobby and the guests who are arriving a little late to find a seat.

I believe there are five elements to a great welcome, but maybe more important than those five is the person who is delivering the welcome. You have to make sure that person is a good speaker, they’re comfortable on stage, and they’re likable.

I’d prefer it not be the lead pastor because they’re the most likely to get caught in a conversation before service, or they may still need time to look over their notes. Plus, it’s just nice to have another person on stage people can connect with.

Once you’ve found that person, you need to ask them to do these five things during the welcome.

  1. Introduce yourself. Each and every week, you need to introduce yourself. Because each and every week we’re expecting guests to show up, and they may not know you.
  2. Welcome guests. You want to recognize guests every week. Not by making them stand up or raise their hand, just by saying, “If you’re new here, welcome. We’re glad you came.” Then if you use a connection card, you want to ask them to fill out the card and turn it in at the end of service.
  3. Share Vision. This is where you remind everyone of why your church exists. Try to share a story about how the church is changing lives.
  4. Invite them to connect. This could be to an event you have coming up, to a small group, or to a serving role. Statistics are very clear. If you don’t get people engaged in what you’re doing, then more than likely they won’t stay at your church.
  5. Pray. End the welcome by praying over the rest of the service.

It’s a simple as that. Here’s what mine would look like.

Hey, welcome to Strong Tower Church. My name is Travis. I’m one of the pastors here, and from everyone on staff and all our wonderful volunteers, we want to say we’re honored that you’re here today. If this is your first time with us, we hope we make you feel at home. When you came in, you were handed a connection card, and we’d love for you to fill that out with as much information as you’re comfortable with sharing. We promise we’re not going to show up at your house or anything like that. We would just like to send you a thank you card, and we have a free gift for you if you’ll take your card to our welcome center after service. This week I came across this post on Facebook from someone who recently started attending our church, and I wanted to share it with you. It says, ‘I think I’ve finally found a home church. From the moment I stepped onto the property, I’ve never felt so welcomed. It truly does feel like family. I can’t wait to go back on Sunday.’ Posts like this are why we exist. Our church exists to share the love of Jesus with everyone, so that everyone falls in love with Him. If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, we’re having a pastor’s lunch right after service today, and we would love to talk with you about how you can get more involved. Thanks again for being here. Would you join me in praying over the rest of our service?

If you found this post helpful, would you do me a favor and share it with another pastor or church leader you know? My desire is to help small town pastors all around the world, and I’d love to have your help in getting the word out. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.