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Church on Christmas Sunday, 12/25/11. Cancelling, Changing or Altering your service?

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  • Church on Christmas Sunday, 12/25/11. Cancelling, Changing or Altering your service?

    I am curious, with Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, if anyone's church is cancelling, changing, or altering your worship service? Moving it to a different time? Doing something different? Cancelling all together? Or are you leaving everything as normal?

    Also, in the past when this has occured (last time was 2005), do you recall if attendance was sparse or overflowing?

    I am not sure where I sit on this, as I see all sides of it. Very curious to your thoughts and feedback. Thanks.

  • #2
    I was serving in a different church when this happened in '05. We decided to go ahead with our schedule as usual and had higher than average attendance across all services that weekend.

    This year, our church has just launched a new campus in a neighboring community. Because both campuses are small, and out of concern for the ability for a brand new church to sustain over that holiday weekend, we are dividing the services - Christmas Eve on Saturday night at the original campus, and Christmas Morning on Sunday at the new one. Gives the whole church an opportunity to worship together and see the other location, and allows us to "divide and conquer" with our teams, which I hope will make both services more excellent than they would otherwise be. It will definitely be interesting to see how it works out, though!
    Eric Frisch
    www.ericfrisch.com

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    • #3
      We are not having Sunday morning gatherings on Christmas morning. We have, for years, had a very highly attended Christmas Eve gathering in the evening, in fact this year we're having two because of the numbers. We're giving our people some resources to lead their families in worship on Christmas morning at home.

      Nate
      Practical Worship

      Please Pray For My Wife

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      • #4
        We will combine our 2 services into one, and have a simple, meaningful service. Used to do a much-loved 11 pm Christmas Eve service; not sure why they stopped doing it. Everyone loved it, and attendance was good.
        Tom

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        • #5
          We will have a Christmas Eve service and then combine our Sunday services into a single service.
          Glenn

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          • #6
            Good to know! Thanks for sharing. Want to explore all options so that we can plan meaningful opportunities for people to worship.

            Milepost13 - what kind of resources do you give them to use at home on Christmas Morning?

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            • #7
              In 2005, I was at a different church. We ended up doing two Christmas Eve Services that were a pretty big deal. We also combined the two morning services into one, but it (in perspective) not a huge attendance.

              This year, I have recently started at a new church that is much smaller. We are planning on doing a Christmas Eve Service, and then inviting people to participate in small group dinners in the evening on Christmas Day. This will be targeted toward folks who don't have a lot of family in the area and also as a way to invite friends who may not be connected with a church. This is the first time doing this, so we'll see how it goes.

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              • #8
                I don't really get why we would cancel church because of it. Moving to a much bigger Christmas Eve service can be a neat way, but if we get down to it... we are cancelling our scheduled time with the Lord to do what? Open presents and eat with family? I know that God can work through all decisions, but I have a real hard time looking at it straight forward. We don't cancel on Easter, which is by far the most important event we celebrate, why the lesser important Christmas. I have a difficult time grasping this, I know it is likely my flesh speaking, but putting it out there without any support for why to do it... we are cancelling our scheduled time with God as a body to open presents and eat with family.

                Is that what God wanted?

                I'm sorry if this sounds condemning, if my church decided to move it to Christmas eve and have a big celebration I would take part and not say anything really to be honest. But put in the situation to make that decision I think I would have a hard time justifying it. I know it is a bit legalistic and Paul warned against against being legalistic with times and dates for worshipping God. But just as we need to schedule routine time to spend with God to give him our best individually, to me it seems logical that it should be like that coorperatly. If you have a set time and day of the week, don't cancel or change plans for worldly reasoning. We should do our best to set that time for the Lord and stick with it, shows priorities IMO.

                Again, not being judgemental, just getting my thoughts out there. I don't think less people would attend, I would think more would.
                Lov'n Jesus

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                • #9
                  @JenniferLassiter

                  We're looking to maybe producing a DVD that will help lead families through a worship time focused on the story from Luke 1,2. If not, we'll do something similar via a website/download on paper.

                  @steensn

                  I can see how viewing it as "cancelling" Christmas Sunday morning would appear to be a poor decision. But, we're not cancelling anything. We're simply moving our congregational worship time that one Sunday morning to individual houses. In fact, we're encouraging families who live close together to get together for a Christmas breakfast and to worship together.

                  The purpose isn't to free people up to open present and eat with family (although, in and of itself, those things are not bad). The purpose is to allow families to learn how to worship together, to give parents the opportunity to teach their kids that God is even more important than church (if we're not careful, we can make church an idol by refusing to ever consider "canceling" Sunday services).

                  We've invested a great deal of time and resources the past several years into helping our people focus on the story of Christmas. Participating in things like adventconspiracy.com, encouraging people to spend less on gifts and more on generosity of time and energy, etc. This is one more thing we can do to fan that flame. We understand that there are people and churches who would never "cancel" Christmas, and that's OK. This is what God has led us to, and we believe that it is totally a holy decision.

                  Nate
                  Practical Worship

                  Please Pray For My Wife

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    @ milepost13 If that is the true intension, I can't argue with your itentions. They seem well thought out and brought on by God. I don't want to sound like I'm condemning what you guys do, but there are churches that "cancel" their service because of Christmas. Do you guys do this more than just Christmas? If not, the thought IMO is good enough toi extend it to a couple times a year and give the families good resources.
                    Lov'n Jesus

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                    • #11
                      We're having a Christmas Eve service and combining our Sunday AM services into one 11am service. Not sure what turn out will be like especially considering we don't normally even have a Christmas Eve service.

                      The only downside to this set up is that we may end up having some people scheduled Christmas Eve and Christmas Day which can be tricky to make work with everyone's family plans, etc. Anyone else working through this type of situation?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by danielled View Post
                        The only downside to this set up is that we may end up having some people scheduled Christmas Eve and Christmas Day which can be tricky to make work with everyone's family plans, etc. Anyone else working through this type of situation?
                        That's one of the reasons we decided to do one service at each campus... spreads the work around, and also allows us to cover absences for each service with people from the other location.
                        Eric Frisch
                        www.ericfrisch.com

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                        • #13
                          We have a 9am contemporary and 11am traditional. moving to one traditional 10am (which is great for me as 9am leader- i can go be with my family back in alabama).

                          but i love the idea of cancelling and creating something meaningful for fams to do at home. itd have to be really good, not just handouts. but it could be powerful.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for the feedback. @milepost 13, that is a great idea. I'm certain we are too late for our church to pull that off, but I have 7 years to plan for this next occurance. Truly though, I really like the idea of providing families resources for home worship beyond the standard studies, books, etc. SOmething that could be applied and used year round. (Agreed, Steensn)

                            @steensn Thanks for your perspective. I didn't take it judgemental! No worries. I appreciate hearing thoughts on all sides of the issue. Our church has never cancelled 11am Sunday service for anything other than inclement weather/dangerous roads. I think we'd have to install pew defibrilaters (sp?) if I ever planned on suggesting we do such a thing.

                            I feel part of my job is thinking about, researching, and being knowledged on possible alternatives should the need arise.

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                            • #15
                              I haven't gone to every Christmas day service in the past. BUT I love that church service. We have one service every Christmas day. Two services on Christmas eve. MY heart feels full of warmth during the Christmas morning service.,,,, there is just something about that ONE. Its just what it represents as compared to every service throughout the year. Its like a connection is made!
                              My family has done this as tradition which started about 7 yrs ago: We now take the in laws which are Great Grandma, Grandpa and Grandma, uncle, Sister, little Sister, mom and me to Christmas eve service at 6pm, then go home and eat chili and veggies, then open all the gifts together! Then Chrismas morning Me, mom and sisters, (kids) go to that ONE special service.
                              I hope it never gets cancelled. As far as whether its schedule is changed or time slot moved or the service itself being altered in content goes I am fine with that. It will still have that one certain connection in spirit!
                              I didn't mean to be inaccurate, but I wasn't trying to be precise.

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