How Ron Edmondson Plans for Christmas

October 26th, 2011
Christmas will be here before you know it!

We've learned some hard lessons when planning for Christmas. 

As a church nearly six years old, honestly we haven't planned many Christmases. Having planned the ones we have, we’ve always seen things we wish we had done differently. 

Some things we’ve learned by trial and error: 

  • Volunteers need more notice of Christmas services than other services throughout the year.
  • People make plans earlier for Christmas than any other time of year.
  • Christmas is equal to Easter in terms of the ability to reach new people.
  • Our community cares what we do at Christmas, even if it doesn’t the rest of the year.
  • A properly planned Christmas service can be a huge momentum builder into the New Year.

Having learned those things, we’ve had to get a faster jump on planning for Christmas than we once thought. The main thing for us is that we need dates on a calendar. How many weeks do we have? What day of the week does Christmas Eve fall on this year? When are people likely to leave town if they plan to? This becomes even more important when Christmas falls adjacent to a weekend, but it’s important regardless.

We don’t do large musical productions, so we don’t need tons of rehearsals, but we do need to let people know when volunteers will be needed so those who are willing can make their plans around the schedule. Thankfully, we have volunteers who will alter their schedule if they know in advance, but Christmas is not a time where people are willing to make last-minute changes to their schedule. This year, with Christmas being on a Sunday, we have opted to put all of our attention into Christmas Eve services.

We normally do four services each Sunday—three at one campus and one at another. For Christmas Eve we will do three services, all at different times—two at one campus and one at another. We believe crowded works well at Christmas and some of our services are not full. We’ve strategically picked times we think will appeal to different groups of people. 

Our schedule for planning this year for planning looks like this:

July 1 – Know when we were having services at each campus.
July – Volunteers are informed of the schedules
September – Messages are outlined and creative elements planned
September/October – Music is selected
September/October – Marketing plans are developed
October/November – Volunteers are identified and roles assigned
November/December – Marketing begins
December – Last minute details are completed
January – Evaluation begins

Planning ahead ensures we are able to take advantage of the strategic window of opportunity Christmas offers.

When does your church start planning for Christmas?


Ron Edmondson is Lead Pastor of Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tenn.
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