The Church Staff & Christmas Dilemma

lightstock_49583_small_deborah_wipfWe all know that Christmas and Easter are times when people who typically don’t come to church will make the effort to attend a service.  This provides a great opportunity to minister to people who are missing family, thinking they should raise their children in church, or are looking for hope.  I’m sure your staff supports you in wanting to serve these people well over the holidays.

However, the activities surrounding Christmas can put the desire to serve up against that of traveling to see extended family.  Unless Christmas falls on a weekend, you’re going to run into scheduling challenges.  So, how do you balance making sure you’re ready to minister with letting staff members off to visit their families?

Here are a few things to consider:

Start the vacation planning process ASAP

Set a deadline for your staff to submit vacation requests for the holidays. Require that they include a plan to ensure their responsibilities are covered in their absence.  This could include a list of key volunteer leaders who could step in for them at a service or another staff member who will be in town and is capable of taking over.

Plan ahead without filling up the calendar

December is full of Christmas parties, holiday outreaches, and family celebrations.  For the sake of your staff and volunteers, don’t bog them down with too many events.  Schedule holiday outreaches and Christmas celebrations well in advance so people can plan accordingly.

You don’t have to host a Christmas Eve service 

You can celebrate Christmas the Sunday before and leave the week open for families to celebrate together.  There’s no right answer on this one – figure out what works best for your church. However, don’t just do what you’ve always done without giving thought to what’s best for your congregation, volunteers, and church staff.

Go ahead and start planning for a peaceful and impactful holiday season.  If you’ll take the time now to plan ahead you can serve your community and provide incredible times of ministry, all without wearing out your team.  It’s worth the extra effort now to make that happen.

How does your church handle this dilemma?  Please add your tips to the comments section.