Things for Churches to Consider During the Holiday Season
Christmas. Some people are already decked out in all the decor and others are up in arms about the pagan roots behind the holiday. However you feel about Christmas, the reality is that people are celebrating it as a time of giving, love, and even recognizing the birth of Jesus Christ.
During this time, I think it's important for churches to consider a few things. One of those lies from the controversy about celebrating Christmas at all. Feel free to tell people about the research you've done on the matter, but remember that your congregation probably isn't worshiping Satan, pagan gods, or the tree they put up in their house. They're in your congregation with you, worshiping God and listening to the Word. Consider thinking before condemning every person who even considers using Christmas as a time to celebrate Jesus' birth or puts up a Christmas tree.
Along those lines is considering your audience. Christmas is one of two major holidays during the year that people who rarely go to church make an effort to show up. What is more important - your thoughts on the evils lurking behind Santa Claus or teaching them about the most wonderful gift - Jesus Christ? Follow the Holy Spirit in all you do, and remember that you may have people who are very new to church and to Christ.
During the holiday season, you might be putting on events and plays, showing lights and nativity scenes. While people may be coming for a cute, festive event or a free gift, remember what really matters. It's okay to consider where people are coming from, but they are drawn here not so your event is a popular success, but so that they encounter the true reason for the joy and love they experience during this season - Jesus Christ. He is so much more than the baby lying in a manger. Make every effort to be genuine and let the Holy Spirit use you so that people can be introduced to the One who is going to change their lives forever.
For the people - those that really are the church - keep God in mind. That might seem strange, but sometimes we can get so caught up in making sure that we get everyone presents and have great decor that we leave God out and stop giving tithes and offerings. Really, it should be the opposite. If we feel like giving, shouldn't we be giving more to further His Kingdom and show our love for Him? He will take care of us, as He is a good father. Don't leave Christ out as you supposedly celebrate His birth.
Follow-up is very important. You are probably going to have a lot of guests, and many of these guests probably don't attend church regularly or have a very stable relationship with Christ, if at all. Don't forget them once the wonderful time of Christmas is over - follow up with them even in the new year. Be the reminder that Christ is with us all the time - not just when we all feel good in December.
As we head towards December, I pray that God directs you all in what steps to take, Words to give, programs to do, events to hold, and times to fellowship. May God use all of us to reach out to the lost and hurting and introduce them to the Savior, Jesus Christ.