Is your church ready for the Christmas season and end-of-year responsibilities? I’m not sure why it always happened this way, but somehow, a few days before Christmas, I—a church admin—could always be found scouring stores near me for those little paper candle holders for our candlelight service or ribbons for visitor gifts. (If I were a character in Elf, I might have been Buddy’s boss at the department store: “Six-inch ribbon curls! SIX INCHES!” Ribbon is a commodity, you know.) It’s not that I didn’t plan, it’s that there was always something that went askew at the last minute. A missed shipment, a too-small order, or—heaven help us—something I forgot. I’m not a church admin these days, but I think often of those who serve in a staff role. The job hasn’t gotten easier—and as we approach the holidays in the (pandemic) Year of Our Lord 2021, complications abound.
3 Smart Questions To Get Your Church Ready For Christmas
1. How can we reach people in our community who need gospel hope?
Christmas may be full of cheer, but not for everyone. In 2021 alone, so many people have lost loved ones, jobs, and community, to name a few. The holiday season is an open door for Christians to show hurting people that:
- Jesus came into our world (John 1:9)
- Lived as one of us (Heb 2:17–18)
- Cried when his friend died (John 11:33–36)
- Was abandoned and betrayed by his friends (Matt 26:21; Luke 22:34, 39–46)
Jesus knows what it’s like to be a vulnerable human. To quote Sally Lloyd Jones, through him “all the sad things will come untrue.” (See also Rev 21:3–4.) Let your church’s open doors communicate Jesus’ understanding of being a vulnerable human in a brutal world. To quote Sally Lloyd Jones, through him “all the sad things will come untrue.” Click To Tweet Our cities and communities need to hear the hope of the gospel, and God has given your church a mission to reach the hurting and lost. What will you do to share the good news this holiday season? You could run ads on social media or even send a mailer. Or you could get creative by equipping your congregation with videos and other tools so they can share them directly with friends and family. Your best visitor asset: 10 Essential Elements To Include In Your Church’s Plan-Your-Visit Video
2. Do we have a funding gap we need to close in December?
An unfortunate reality of being a church leader these days is seeing steep attendance and/or giving drops. Some churches are on track overall year-to-date, but their giving patterns have become erratic. As we approach the end of the year, pastors and staff need an eye on the current numbers—along with the history of past year-end giving trends. For many church leaders, being too close to the numbers is opening the door to fear, control, or unhealthy ministry choices. I get it—money is a scary thing! We know that decisions made out of fear almost always backfire.
PRAY ABOUT MONEY CONCERNS
But God has placed your church in a particular location at a particular time, and your church exists to serve him for as long as He desires. It’s all about Jesus. So, if you’re heading to the end of the year with a budget gap, do these three things:
- PRAY about it.
- Consider cuts. What do you absolutely need to keep in the budget between now and December 31? As an example, your congregation might be sad to give up the locally brewed coffee, but I guarantee they’d much rather bring their own mug than go without electricity.
- Communicate. Share with your congregation the total amount you need to bring in before the year ends. Simply asking for what you need—without begging or demanding—goes a long way.
3. Do we have the right tools to help us end 2021 and begin 2022 on the right note?
What a year, am I right? We’ve barely got the finish line in sight, so it can be hard to start thinking ahead about 2022. But every new year brings new challenges and opportunities—and new budgets. Now is a good time to do a little inventory of your equipment, software, and supplies to make sure you have what you need before things get busy in the New Year.
- Is there anything that’s broken or nearing the end of its usefulness?
- Anything you need to get a better version of?
- Do you need to upgrade your live streaming equipment?
- Anything that’s wasting your time or forcing you to do double work?
- Anything that you wish you had in 2021 that would be extra useful in 2022?
Guest-friendly site: Optimizing Your Church Website for First-Time Guests If you want to spend more time thinking through issues like these—particularly ones about encouraging year-end giving—check out Faithlife’s free guide, Simple Strategies for Successful Year-End Giving. There are lots of really practical tips and suggestions that work for churches of all sizes. Pick it up today.