This is the first part of Christine Trevino's guest series on Christmas. She's has a wonderful gift of writing and shares something special for you below.
Christmas is one of the highest attended days of the church calendar year by both believers and seekers alike, but the weekly challenges of running a church, staff workloads, and tight finances can make planning a creative Christmas experience for worshippers a difficult objective.
Don't let that stop you.
It is possible to think creatively for Christmas. Make the decision to pro-actively and creatively source your Christmas services by beginning your prep NOW with these four things in mind:
1. Start planning by assembling your team NOW.
Nothing creative will ever happen if you don't commit to planning now. Start praying for the creative direction God wants you to take this Christmas and consider what staff and/or key volunteers you can get involved this week. Schedule a brainstorming meeting with key creative leaders, and if your time or creative energies are tight, delegate the service planning to someone who can make this priority number one.
There are creative people in your church. God has gifted you and your congregation with unique gifts and abilities to reach the community you serve. Tap into the youth, young adult, and even elderly demographics of your congregation for undiscovered talent and untapped potential. Oftentimes these are the volunteers who have the most time to devote to creative ideas and elements for Christmas.
2. Formulate a central theme for your service.
While you may not be the creative genius of your leadership team, you are the leader and your creative team will be grateful for your big picture vision. Will you focus on the character of Mary, or the spiritual hunger of the Shepherds? Will you explain the promises of Messiah from the Old Testament, or keep things focused on the manger? The Christmas story has been told thousands of times. What sets your church's re-telling apart from the rest is the angle you take in sharing it.
3. Clearly communicate expectations and equip your team with the resources they need.
Be clear what financial resources the church can afford toward creative elements for Christmas, and communicate any expectations you have for the service. How involved do you need to be with the teams use of budget? How often do you want to be updated on progress? Do you need to sign off on the final service order? When is the last day changes can be made to the service?
While it may be tempting, do not approve an amazing and inspiring creative element that only kind-of-sort-of fits with the central theme of your service, or hopefully-maybe-somehow highlights the natural gifts and abilities of your church. You want worshippers to be engaged and inspired by creative elements, not confused or distracted by them.
4. Give your team permission to think differently.
Once you've assembled your team, given the big-picture vision, and clearly communicated any expectations, allow your team the creative space they need to think differently. Anything done with excellence outside your church's regular service routine will naturally cause worshippers to engage. When congregants are engaged, God can speak, and lives are changed. Your teams primary goal at crafting a Christmas service is to create an experience that fosters engagement and God-inspired life-change.
If your team needs a little help in this area have them take a look at the post 5 Ways to Creatively Source Your Christmas Service (and 20 resources to help you implement them) for ideas.
Remember, creative doesn't mean difficult.
You and your team can do this. Your church and community will thank you.
This post is courtesy of Christine Trevino is an author, blogger, and freelance writer. She's wife to Michael, homeschooling boy mom of three, and lover of words. A large portion of the scripts she's written for church drama presentations can be found online for free at her self-titled blog, where you can find her chatting about faith, family, and creativity regularly.
Her advent devotional Experience Christmas, and script Christmas through the Carols: Narration and Production Notes for a Complete Christmas Eve Service are both available on Amazon.