Remembering back to when I was pastoring a growing church, I had to face a particularly issue in both 2005 and 2016. Those were years when December 25th fell on a Sunday. This year, 2022, Christmas day is also on a Sunday.

So how should your church plan services as Christmas day is Sunday, knowing it is culturally a given that most of America plans on being home on Christmas morning.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

Ask yourself first if you are having a service or services on Christmas Eve? Christmas Eve always brought with it a big attendance in our community, needing as many as three services at 3pm, 4:30 and 6pm. One of the benefits if you focus your church’s attention to Christmas eve is that you can invite the entire community, especially those who typically do not get up and attend your church on any given Sunday. With your total focus on Christmas Eve, you can legitimately cancel this year’s Sunday morning services without a drop in total attendance.

As our world has become more tech driven, an alternative to having an in-person Christmas Sunday service, would be to have a shortened prerecorded service offered online. It is important that this presentation is especially geared for people in their homes. It should be around twenty minutes in length and have a very personal feel with a mixture of video, music, scripture reading and very short encourgaging message about the Joy that has come into the world.  

Whether in-person or on line, remember to be sensitive to your staff and volunteers. Your volunteers and staff members might very well have been planning family activities for Christmas. I always gave my staff the option to participate or not at Christmas Eve services, knowing that many of them either had out of town plans or small children who expect them to open presents with them.

Whatever you decide to do for Christmas services, be sure to over announce when services are going to be held. Let me repeat, over announce when services are going to be held. Did you get that? Over announce when services are going to be held. You do not want folks showing up on Sunday morning if you have canceled the service. A sign on the door saying there will be no services today is a must, but hopefully it will never read by anyone because you have let EVERYONE know in advance on multiple messaging platforms that there were no services on Sunday.

To guarantee that there would be no one upset because the doors of the church were locked on Christmas Sunday morning you could offer a scaled back service featuring recorded music and a time of prayer and communion. If you do decide to have services on Sunday morning December 25th 2022 understand that your attendance will have a significant fall off.

One last thing. Be aware that New Year’s day 2023 will also be on Sunday. You can figure that there will be fewer folks than usual at church on the morning after New Years Eve, even if they were not party animals the night before. Take heart, you will not have to deal with this situation again until 2033.

For more on how to grow your congregation, check out my latest book, Church Turnaround A to Z: Ermoian, Kyle: 9780991380541: Books