Christmas-time services are fast becoming a more significant opportunity to invite and welcome first time guests than Easter-time services. Resurrection Sunday seems to have become more “all of the members show up on the same weekend.” In contrast, Christmas has more of a “first time Guest’s are coming” air about it. Also, it appears that the highly contagious virus of Youth Sports has yet to infect family time during the Advent Season.
As pastors and leadership teams across the country prepare for Christmas Pageants, Variety Shows, Candlelight Services or even Grandiose Spectaculars (after all, there’s really not any better way to celebrate a humble savior, born in a manger, than WITH A CIRCUSSSSS!!!! like this church will) your friends at Launch Clarity have assembled the essential after-Christmas-services checklist. Here are 25 things to remember or plan around your church’s observance of Christ’s birth:
1. Update the church website to reflect your New Year’s theme, series and service times.
2. Find out who is sending a note to each guest card. Make sure it contains a definite next step for the guest to take.
3. Ensure that someone is personally following up with each decision made. Invite each person to take the next action in growth as a disciple immediately in the New Year.
4. Thank the welcome team volunteers with a short email. Did anyone volunteer for the first time? Appoint somebody to invite them to join the team.
5. Order extra carpet freshener to cover the smell of live nativity poop on the stage… I’m looking at YOU Baby Jesus.
6. Personally thank the worship leaders/tech team who invested a ton of their Christmas time. See if there is a small gift or token of appreciation you can give them.
7. Appoint someone to take the Christmas decorations down. Do they need help? Find someone other than your spouse.
8. Personally, thank whoever stayed after to clean up and lock down the church.
9. Assess which pageant costumes need to be dry cleaned before being stored for the year… double check the Roman Guard tunics.
10. Send a quick text to your staff thanking them for the extra time and share at least one story of the impact that you heard or were a part of.
11. Check in with the kid’s leadership team to ensure everything went smoothly. What needs to be celebrated or calibrated in the New Year?
12. Make sure someone is going to follow up with any families who checked in a child for the first time.
13. Collect the crayons and coloring pages left scattered around the worship center.
14. Shoot a short video of thanks to your community for attending and post it online. Give them the hook for returning in January. Have a hook for people to return in January.
15. Share with your spouse and children a personal highlight from a service. Are they able to celebrate the sacrifice of extra family time or did they just eat without you again this year?
16. Set your auto-reply on email to let anyone know of your family downtime. Take some down time with family.
17. Scrub the melted wax off the seats and carpets, as those paper circles over promise and under deliver.
18. Make sure there’s someone at the church the next week checking the mail and making any year-end offering deposits.
19. If you had a special offering during services, share a quick recap by video or email of what God did. Is there still time for people to give?
20. Return the forklift that hoisted the Angel Gabriel above the shepherds… and put the deposit down on it again for Ascension Sunday.
21. Schedule and set the agenda for the first staff meeting of the New Year, keep it light and celebratory. There are 51 more weeks to be hyper-focused.
22. Send a recording of the little girl who sang “Happy Birthday Jesus” this year to her parents so the rest of their family can pretend it was amazing and tell them that Broadway is the next logical step.
23. Make sure everyone in leadership knows which pastors are in town and who is out of town the next few days in case an emergency arises. Better yet, assign deacons to actually be deacons for one week and make all the hospital visits.
24. Spend the last five minutes before your head hits the pillow that night thanking God specifically for one or two of the most memorable moments.
25. Schedule the youth ministry’s annual New Year’s Eve Christmas Tree Bonfire and remind the new youth pastor that gasoline should not be used to light the fire.