There are only a few days left until the biggest day of the year in the church. Christmas Eve is here and with it comes a flurry of activity. Music is being rehearsed, messages are being written, candles are being pulled from the closet, and every little detail is being mulled over with a fine toothed comb.
It’s not news that Christmas presents our greatest opportunity to reach those who might not normally be with us in weekly worship. Many churches work hard to raise the bar on Christmas Eve. It’s one of the most joyous and exciting times of the year, so upping the ante on creativity, music, message and more only makes sense.
I love Christmas worship. It’s easy to go all out. It’s also easy to work so hard in preparation for Christmas that we have nothing left for the days that follow.
If Christmas Eve is one of the high points on the christian calendar, the Sunday after probably ranks as one of the lowest where creativity is concerned. We charge so hard toward December 24th, that we simply have nothing left for the Sunday following. Many of us even take the next weekend off to rest and be with our families. Of course that’s not all bad, but our best opportunity can easily be squandered if we’re not careful.
The potential to reach new people on Christmas is thrilling. With all of the extra effort we put into the big day, visitors are bound to get inspired at some level. If we’re done our due diligence, when our C&E crowd shows up for their yearly visit, if it all goes right, they may just be intrigued enough to come back the following week.
I can remember one Christmas Eve where a family member who didn’t regularly attend church said to me, “Wow, is this what it’s like here all the time? This isn’t what I expected to experience at a church.” Of course, I knew that if he returned just a few days later, the experience would be less than stellar, and not just because it’s not as polished.
When it comes to this season, we rarely ever save anything for later. The weeks following Christmas Eve are as important if not more in hooking those who are curious about engaging (or re-engaging) church. When someone comes to our well-designed, well-thought out Christmas Eve experience, our under-designed, minimal effort weeks following can only serve to solidify the “oh never mind, this is what worship is really like” mentality.
It doesn’t have to be that way! With a little pre-planning and some extra attention to creativity, the weeks following Christmas can continue whatever momentum we’ve established with Christmas Eve.
A pastor friend and I have been meeting for several weeks to partner on post Christmas worship. While it won’t have all of the bells and whistles that Christmas Eve will, we have creative moments infused throughout the experience. From original animation, to tactical take-away objects; interactive moments, to a very powerful metaphor; the post worship experience will be one that should be memorable and meaningful. Best of all, it should keep the bar raised creatively, and will feed into the next series that has been given the usual branding and production efforts.
While there aren’t weeks left to develop and implement a grand plan, there is still time to create something worth coming back to. Assuming that your Christmas is planned (or mostly planned), what can you do make the most of weeks to come?
I’m always amazed at what a short brainstorming session with a few like minded creative folks can generate. I’d encourage you to huddle and see what can happen!
Have a blessed Christmas! And may the creativity continue to flow for weeks to come.