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.

If You’re Not Healthy, Your Church Will Never Be Healthy

There’s absolutely nothing more important than your health. I think most of us would agree with that statement; however many of us, including myself, certainly don’t act like it. We don’t exercise, we don’t eat right, we’re stressed out, and our marriages are struggling. Combine those things with the pressures of leading a church, and you have a recipe for disaster.

In the past two years, I’ve gained 20-25 pounds. That may not seem like a big deal to most people, but considering I had remained at the same weight for the previous 20 years, it was a sign that I wasn’t as young as I used to be.

I have allergies, acid indigestion, and anxiety, especially around big events like Easter and Christmas. And I’m not even a lead pastor, so I can’t imagine the pressure of being one.

But I know it comes with a cost, and often that cost is our health. So, let’s take a moment to do a check up. How would you answer these questions?

Physically

  1. Am I overweight?
  2. How often do I exercise?
  3. Do I eat healthy?
  4. Am I taking any medicine because of poor health choices?

Spiritually

  1. How often do I spend time with God?
  2. Do I enjoy it?
  3. How’s my prayer life?
  4. How often do I read God’s word for personal enrichment?
  5. Am I struggling with sin?

Relationally

  1. Do I have a best friend I can trust completely?
  2. How many other true friends do I have?
  3. Do I enjoy being around people in my church?
  4. Am I a part of a small group or Sunday school class?
  5. Do I have someone investing into me?

Family

  1. How is my marriage?
  2. Is my spouse happy I’m a pastor?
  3. Are my kids happy I’m a pastor?
  4. Do I have a monthly date night?

Emotionally

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how stressed am I?
  2. If money weren’t a concern, would I still be pastoring?

Do everything you can to protect your health. It’s the most important thing you have.

What other questions should pastors be asking themselves? What would you add to this list? Leave a comment and let me know. If you’re ever struggling and need someone to confide in, please shoot me an email. We’re in this together, and I want to see you healthy and loving what you get to do.

Ten Reasons You Should Quit the Ministry

I’m a firm believer that the world needs more churches and more pastors. However, there are some pastors out there who are doing more harm to the church than good. I’ve spent the past three years trying to encourage and equip small town pastors to grow their churches, but today I want to encourage some of you to quit.

Before you get too bent out of shape, I’m not saying you should quit serving God and loving people. Every Christian should do that.

I’m just saying you should find a new occupation.

Pastoring isn’t for everyone, and if you’ve been pondering if it’s really for you, I hope these ten reasons will give you some clarity.

  1. You didn’t know what you were getting into. Look, I get it. You were fifteen years old, it was an emotional church camp, and you felt like God was calling you to preach. Now, you’re a twenty-four year old youth pastor, you’re regretting the decision, and you can’t imagine doing this for the rest of your life. Do yourself a favor and step out of the position. God will take care of filling it when you’re gone.
  1. You’re in it for the money. Ha, if people only knew. Few small town pastors will ever be able to go full-time at the church they serve. Even then, the chances of getting benefits like insurance or retirement can be slim. If you got into the ministry to make big bucks, you’re going to be really disappointed.
  1. You have a hard time loving people. People are the best and the worst part of ministry. You’ll be spending a lot of time with them, so you have to be able to take the good with the bad. If you just like the idea of preaching in front of an audience, then pastoring probably isn’t for you. You need to genuinely love people in all stages of life and with all different types of personalities and problems.
  1. You don’t have a passion to see people come to know Jesus. The heart of a pastor has to burn with passion to see people come to know Jesus. I can’t emphasize this enough. If you are serving in a church that isn’t seeing salvations and you’re not frustrated by that, then you may not need to be a pastor. If it’s been a long time since you’ve personally invited someone who doesn’t know Jesus to your church, then you probably don’t need to be a pastor. Evangelism has to be a priority in your life and the life of your church.
  1. You can’t handle criticism. Every leader has to deal with criticism. Pastors don’t get a pass on this. God’s people have been perfecting the art of criticism for hundreds of years. Many pastors have been chewed up and spit out by “well-meaning” Christians. If your feelings get hurt easily, pastoring isn’t for you.
  1. You can’t handle praise. For some pastors, praise is more dangerous than criticism. They feed off of praise, and their ego gets bigger and bigger. This causes them to have an inflated view of themselves, which makes it impossible for them to connect with their congregation.
  1. You don’t enjoy it. Maybe you did at one time, but now it’s more of a burden to you rather than a blessing. If you find yourself dreading showing up to church on a Sunday morning, it’s probably time for you take a break and get some counseling.
  1. You’re not willing to learn and change. Ministry is constantly changing, which means pastors have to be willing to learn and change in order to reach more people. Unfortunately, many small town pastors continue to refuse to change even though their churches are dying.
  2. It’s time to pass the baton to someone else. Some of you have led very successful ministries for a number of years, but the time has come to step aside and let someone new take over the ministry. As we get older and our health begins to fade, we are no longer as effective as we once were. The best thing you can do is to ensure a healthy transition for the next pastor.
  1. It’s destroying your family. Unfortunately, we are seeing this happen more and more. You can be very successful in ministry and lose your family. Your primary responsibility is to love and serve your family. Don’t let the church take you away from that. If your family doesn’t love the church you serve, it’s probably time to walk away.

I hate to see any pastor quit, but sometimes it’s necessary for their health and the health of the church they serve. I also believe it’s necessary for the church as a whole. Jesus reminds us that for a tree to bear the best fruit, some of the branches that aren’t producing have to be pruned.

Have you ever questioned if you should be in ministry? Let us know about it by leaving a comment below, and if you’re ready to turn around your small town church around read my new ebook or contact me about coaching options. Also while you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership and more delivered to your inbox each week.