Christmas is often the busiest time of the year for churches. By building a church holiday social media strategy, these organizations can harness social media tools to encourage the life of their congregation. Overall, an effective holiday social media strategy can help churches make that happen with a little planning and effort.

Social media posts are a simple way for pastors and church communicators to share timely holiday church news and updates with their members, visitors, and guests. Many people want to participate and engage in special holiday church events but they are so busy that they may miss or forget them. So how can churches keep people in-the-know?

Here are five ways social media can spread the good news and help churches at Christmas:

1 – Share Holiday Schedules

Posting holiday schedules is a must, especially at Christmas. Churches should be especially focused on keeping social media accounts regularly updated with church holiday schedules and announcements for services, upcoming classes, small group meetings, and any recovery group meetings through the New Year. Also, remember to post any times when the church will be closed or working on reduced hours after the holidays. Post these dates as early as possible on church websites and use weekly social media posts as reminders.

2 – Host an Advent Countdown

Countdown to Christmas on social media each day or week with posts of Advent reflections, Bible verses, and/or videos. Encourage people to share posts with their family, friends, and followers. Create compelling Advent content that captures the spirit of the season in your own church as well as the lessons of the scripture. Get creative!

3 – Minister to People in Need

Use social media event pages to invite members and guests to join holiday ministry events like food drives and holiday meal services. Encourage people to RSVP to the events to show their support and share it with their own followers to broaden the reach.

Social media can also be used to reach out to people in your own congregation who might be in need. Send encouraging emails or text messages asking if there are people who may need prayers, help with groceries or even support for family members that might be outside of the congregation. Technology is a tool for outreach. Taking it a step further and connecting in person through a meals ministry or a prayer ministry is a great way to reach out to those who may be down or hurting during the holidays.

4 – Fundraise

During December, in addition to being very busy, churches are also focused on closing their books in the black and making sure their ministries are funding through the next year. This means that the end of year fund drive season is the time to pull out all the stops and gently and lovingly remind people to give through every social channel available.

This can also mean letting your ChMS do the heavy lifting by sending emails, posting links to social media, and texting church members — using whatever methods your people like best. Use all of them. Your church may even decide to do a holiday crowdsourcing fundraiser for a special holiday project. Whatever is needed, social media will lead the way in getting the word out and online donations rolling in quickly.

5 – Surveys and Year-End Reflections

Surveys are a great way to use social media to engage with followers and audiences at any time of year. Holidays provide an even more ripe set of fun and practical offerings, including favorite holiday songs, traditions, Bible verses, etc. Practical surveys are very helpful for churches to use to gather data at the end of the year for planning purposes for the year ahead as well.

Churches can use social media tools like Facebook Surveys or use other web-based survey tools and post links to them on all social media platforms to ensure maximum exposure. Either way, pastors and church communicators can inspire social media engagement with short survey questions like “How are you preparing for celebrating the true meaning of Christmas this year?” or “What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions that help bring the reason for the season into focus?”

As the year draws to a close, it can be a humbling experience to reflect on the year and share praises on social media or through special emails or newsletters sent to your congregation. Include photos, videos, graphics, illustrations or details of money raised for missions and special events. Share any information that is encouraging and shows how your church is grateful for God’s provisions and blessings over the past year.

Social media tools are always available to help your church spread the word, and Christmas is a wonderful season to put them to good use.