It’s way too early to see Christmas in public, but it’s never too early for your church to start planning Christmas. That might cause some of you to break out in hives. If even thinking about starting to plan Christmas festivities for your church feels daunting, you’re not alone. But technology can help. There are a lot of ways you can make your Christmas efforts more productive—and maintain your sanity—with the judicious use of technology.

First and foremost, let’s recognize that technology can be wonderful, but it can also be crazy making. The goal here is not to digitize everything or force your church into doing Snapchat and Facebook Live sermons. Those things may work for some churches, but some churches are not all churches. We’re not going for crazy, shiny, slick tech solutions; we want simple, efficient, and sane here people. Technology should save work, not create work.

Let’s look at two ways technology can help make your Christmas efforts more efficient:

1) Efficient Outreach

Use technology to streamline your outreach efforts.

Website

Your website should be your digital home base. All your marketing efforts should point to your website for more information. This is where you can put all the details, the visitor info, the shareable social graphics, etc. Make sure your website can do this heavy lifting for you by making the info easy to find, easy to scan and easy to share. While you can put all the info online, make sure it’s not overwhelming.

Your website should include a cohesive visitor page that welcomes first-time guests and answers all the standard questions (Where do I park? What should I wear? Where do my kids go?). For Christmas, you might want to go a step further and have a special page devoted to your Christmas events. The answers to some of those frequently asked questions will change at Christmas, so don’t assume your visitor page is good to go at Christmas.

If you set it up right, your website can answer questions before people ask them, saving you time.

Invite People

Your website is also a good place to encourage your congregation to invite people to church. Give them all the resources they need: all the details, graphics to share on social media, a way to request physical invites, etc.

Email & Social

Once you have your website doing all the work, you can utilize your email list and whatever social channels you have to push people to your site. (You do have an efficient email list using MailChimp, Aweber or some other email service provider, right? If not, do that now.)

Track What Works

One of the benefits of tech is that it’s super easy to track what you’re doing and see what’s working and what’s not. Pay attention and adjust accordingly.

2) Efficient Systems

Use technology to streamline your internal work. You’ve got a lot to get done as Christmas approaches, and you need to be organized and have streamlined systems in place.

Technology can help:

Forms for Communication Requests

Create online forms to handle all those communication requests from every ministry. This will be a help all year long, but the busyness of the fall season and Christmas is a good excuse to implement it.CMSChristmasBookCover_2500px_NEW

Process

Find a system to track and organize your process. Whether it’s project management software or something simpler like Trello (or even a shared Google doc), get organized.

Registrations

If you’re still doing event registration with paper checklists, you need to go digital. Whether you’re coordinating volunteers or tracking signups and taking payment, digital approaches can really streamline the process.

Canned Email

Are you always sending people the same answers to the same questions? Stop re-writing those answers. Start a system of canned email to save time.

Gearing up for Christmas can be stressful enough, so employ technology where you can to make things simpler and easier.

For more help on Christmas, check out God Rest Ye Stressed Communicators: Planning Christmas for Your Church, a book for church communicators that covers planning, promoting and surviving Christmas.