Christmas events are a given in the church world. Some are nostalgic. Some are tradition. Some are innovative. Others should have been laid to rest a decade ago.
No matter the variety, every Church Christmas event should serve an underlying reason “why.”
Knowing the “why” is more critical than the “how.” The “why” drives the “how.”
It works by default or by choice. You can focus on the “how” without considering the “why,” but it operates the same. An unspoken “why” will drive it all, whether it is tradition or convenience or finances.
The event serves a greater purpose when the “why” is intentional.
Not every “why” needs to be the same for every church.
Several “why’s” can be good. Not any one is superior to all others.
You simply need to settle on the one you believe in most. Choose it. Don’t let it choose you. Then, serve the “why” with passion.
Choosing a “why” for a Church Christmas event will produce stories worth telling.
Conversations will turn from performance evaluation to emotional connection. It will become less about what you can draw from the event, and more about the impact it has on others.
I know because I have a story to tell from Highland Park Church‘s Christmas event called Lights of Lakeland. In it’s tenth year, Lights of Lakeland is an event that attracts over 30,00 people. But, it’s not about the numbers. It is about the “why” of leading people to love God and love others.
Here’s our story.
A young family has attended Lights of Lakeland several years in a row. It has become a family tradition. The whole family gets together for it. Grandma and grandpa, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, grandkids, and cousins attend.
Every year they look forward to the experience. It’s one of those things that put them in the Christmas spirit. You know, like your city’s Christmas parade or colder weather or Christmas songs on the radio or visiting santa at the mall.
This year will be different. Since last year, one of the children received a difficult health diagnosis. He is sick. Really sick. It isn’t safe for him to be in large crowds. Lights of Lakeland is too risky.
Wanting to keep life as normal as possible for him, his parents try something. They email our church with a request. Could you provide a way for our family experience Lights of Lakeland with our son without the crowds?
Yes. We can. We will.
The email was our first interpersonal connection with this family. The second was our children’s ministry staff visiting the boy and his family in the hospital. The third was the night they attended our church for the first time.
They are not church people. Meaning, they were not leaving another church to attend ours. Church was not a normal part of their life.
They have decided to give it a try. They want to know what this Church thing is about. They are ready to learn about God’s love and Jesus and how it can influence their lives.
And, this year, mom and dad will be volunteering for Lights of Lakeland.
Choosing the “why” behind our Church Christmas event is writing a new story for this family, and many more. A story worth telling.