When They Prayed
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES   I chose the theme of our 2023 Annual Conference session, “When They Prayed,” based on Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they ...
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Getting ready for a creative COVID Christmas

October 05, 2020

Did you know there are only 81 days until Christmas? When you think of Christmas, what comes to mind first? Does your mind wander to small groups caroling in a nursing home, sing-alongs in church, Christmas cantatas, kids’ programs, buffets of cookies and carafes of hot chocolate with melting marshmallows?

What if those beloved traditions aren’t accessible to us this year? What will we do to ensure our congregations are safe, yet still celebrate the birth of the Savior in meaningful ways? Can we even make new, more meaningful traditions in the midst of these uncertain times?

In order for this to be a creative Christmas where we embrace the potential instead of the limitations, we’re going to need a few perspective shifts:
  • Shift from “I can’t” to “I can.” Don’t focus on what you can’t do this year. Instead, make a list of what you can do and choose from those. If you force yourself to look for potential you’ll find it!
  • Shift from “we will” to “we might” or “we can.” Make your plans, but hold them loosely. Create contingency plans that allow you to be digital at a moment’s notice. Embrace flexibility and allow your plans to change as a response to whatever is going on at the moment.
  • Shift from “what I’m losing” to “what I’m gaining.” You have an opportunity to change programs that are no longer effective and to develop new, creative traditions. Recycled programs rarely give increased results as they age. They most often have diminishing returns on your investment.
  • Shift from “many things” to “few things.” Do fewer things with greater quality. As we move things online, we often forget how much extra effort and energy it takes to do something new. Factor that in and give yourself some mental margin in which to accomplish this new initiative.
  • Shift from “what we want” to “what they need.” Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on sets, décor, and internal church programming, find ways to invest in the community and spend your money helping those who have been suffering during this time. Demonstrate God’s generosity at Christmas through the way you love your community.
  • Shift from “come here” to “go there.” In the past we’ve asked people to come to where the church is. Now we have the opportunity to get the church out and go to where the people are. This approach more accurately represents the mission of the church anyway!
  • Shift from “weekly” to “daily.” People who are more used to digital church engagement are looking for something that is more flexible than one set time per week to experience the community of the church. Think on-demand vs. network shows that are on at a set time. Look for small ways to engage people throughout the week instead of just one hour a week.
Are you ready to do something new? Are you excited to make the shift and find a new way to reach your community with the love of God this Christmas? Maybe this is the year where someone in your community discovers Christ at Christmas for the very first time! Let’s innovate, create, and inspire as we seek to introduce others to a Savior born to save the world.

Looking for bright ideas of how you can get creative this Christmas? Go to www.brightideasforchurchleaders.com and download the COVID Christmas guide to get more than 25 ready-to-go ways to celebrate Christmas, from Advent prayer stations and Random Acts of Christmas Kindness to a community Cantata and Poinsettia Ding-Dong Ditch!

Jay Hanson, Lead Pastor, and Anne Bosarge, Multi-Campus Director, serve at The Chapel Ministries. They love sharing about the ways God is moving in their church. Contact them at jay@thechapelministries.com and anne@thechapelministries.com.

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