Get the Most Out of Your Christmas Eve Services | Bart Blair

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Are you ready for your Christmas Eve Service? Bart shares with us how you can get the most out of your Christmas Eve Services.

Podcast Transcription

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Hey, welcome to season three, episode 14 of the Missional Marketing Podcast. My name is Bart Blair, and I want to thank you for tuning in to this week’s episode. Today, what I’m going to do is share with you some very specific, simple tactical steps that you can take to get the most out of your Christmas Eve services.

And when I say get the most out of your Christmas Eve services, that’s twofold. Number one, how do we get more people to attend? How do we actually increase the attendance of our Christmas Eve service? And even more importantly, how do we engage with some of those newcomers to actually get them to come back, to get them to stick around? You know, we know that Christmas and Easter are two of the most likely times that you’re to see new people. The people in your church are more likely to extend an invitation to someone that they know that you don’t know, one of their friends, a neighbor, a colleague, or a family member to come and check out your church on Christmas Eve or on Easter Sunday. But we’re not in the business of creating CEOs, that’s what Jason Hamrock, the CEO of Missional Marketing, would say. And when I say CEOs, I mean Christmas, Easter only, like that’s not what we’re in the business of. We’re trying to help people connect with our church so that we can ultimately connect them with Jesus. And so hopefully taking some of these steps or all of these steps that I’m going to share with you today will help your church increase your attendance for your Christmas Eve service and also help you retain some of those people as you go into the New Year, into 2023.

Before I get into the content of today’s podcast, I just want to remind you that if you haven’t subscribed wherever you listen on your favorite podcasting app, make sure that you’ve subscribed. If you’re watching on our YouTube channel, subscribe and ring the bell so that you get notified about future episodes as we release them. And if you haven’t ever left us a rating or review wherever you listen or watch, we’d appreciate you doing that. If you’re watching on the YouTube channel, make sure that you leave us a comment, and give us some feedback. Let us know if you’re applying any of these things in the context of your ministry and how they’re working for you. We would really appreciate hearing from you and knowing how this podcast is impacting you.

So without any further delay, let’s go ahead and let’s jump into the tips, the tricks, and the tactics that you can apply as you’re planning your Christmas Eve services this year so that you can get the most out of them.

In three to.

All right, here’s how you can get the most out of your Christmas services this year. The first thing that I want to mention, and maybe this is obvious, that is, if you haven’t already started planning for Christmas Eve, you need to start today. It’s already November by the time this podcast episode is coming out, maybe you’re listening to it in December, if you haven’t started planning for Christmas Eve, it’s late, but it’s never too late, and you can still apply some of these things. Also, it would be a failure on my part to mention that all of these things that I’m going to be talking about today will actually help you with your Easter planning in 2023.

Maybe you are a regular listener to the podcast, you might remember when we had Ben Stapley on the show last year, Ben said that we should start planning Easter in October right after we’ve finished planning Christmas. And right, some of you are laughing because here we are in November, or maybe you’re listening to this in December, and you can’t start planning Easter because you haven’t finished planning Christmas and that’s okay, that’s idealistic for sure. But once we turn the corner and the calendar into the New year, January, February, you should be planning Easter, and at that point, you can start applying these same principles to your Easter.

But let’s talk about Christmas Eve. The second point that I want to make, which is the first thing that you need to do, is not to start with planning Christmas Eve. Don’t start with planning your Christmas Eve, start with what you want people to do after Christmas Eve. That’s right, the most important thing, is honestly, not the Christmas Eve service, it’s what you want people to do after Christmas Eve. Remember I said that our goal is not just to have high attendance on Christmas Eve, sure, maybe it helps your annual weekly attendance average, but that’s not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is that we want new people, people that we connect with for the first time at Christmas Eve, to actually come back and to engage in our church at the next level.

So what is it that you want people to do after Christmas Eve? Maybe you’re starting a new teaching series in January, something that will be inspiring or interesting to people who don’t regularly attend church. That’s the most important thing to note here, some of the things that you might consider is a teaching series on marriage, or on parenting. Maybe you don’t like to go the topical route and you do want to do something more expository, I would encourage you to consider doing something that might be familiar to unchurched people, maybe something like the Book of Jonah or the Story of the Exodus. Stories that are familiar to people in our culture, but maybe they don’t know the story and maybe they don’t know how they fit into God’s story and how those stories actually apply to their lives. I think those are great topical and exegetical angles that you can take but always think about it through the lens of the people that you’re trying to connect with and trying to reach who are going to come to your Christmas Eve service, who need a reason they need an incentive to come back again in January.

Maybe there’s a ministry that you’re launching or you could consider launching in January, which would be a next step for them, maybe you’re going to do a parenting class or Financial Peace University. Maybe there’s some sort of workshop or seminar that you can do early in the new year, that will be a reason that those unchurched or de-churched people might want to come back to in the New Year. Make sure that you get that planned and get that on your calendar soon enough that as you’re promoting and planning Christmas Eve, you have a natural next step to direct people to when they’re at your Christmas Eve service.

Let’s talk about our third point here, and that is, I want you to plan your Christmas Eve with your neighbor in mind, and do the same thing on Easter Sunday. I’m not saying that we water down the Gospel. I’m not saying that we dumb down the story. But what I am saying is make sure that what you are serving on Christmas Eve, what you’re serving on Easter Sunday, is appetizing and appealing to the people that you’re inviting.

Let me give you an example. You know, in my family, we like to experiment with some interesting and different types of foods. And every once in a while we come up with a recipe and my wife will go, oh, that’s a keeper, we’re going to cook that again. But sometimes the ingredients are a little bit weird, and sometimes the flavors might not be what the typical American would consider normal. And so if we’re inviting neighbors over for dinner, people that maybe we don’t know particularly well, the last thing that I’m going to do is to cook them some weird oddball dish that might be unappealing or unappetizing to them. I’m going to stick probably with meat and potatoes, maybe burgers and salad, maybe steak and potatoes, something that I know will probably be appetizing for them. Better yet, I might even ask them a question, what would make dinner with us appealing and appetizing for them? Not that you’re going to necessarily do that in your community, in your neighborhood, ask them what they want for Christmas Eve, but I definitely want you thinking about your neighbor, your unchurched neighbor, and what they’re going to hear and see and think and feel when they go through your Christmas Eve experience. If you can give them an engaging and pleasant time, an appealing time, an interesting time, and an emotionally positive time at your Christmas Eve service, you have a much better chance of getting them to come to whatever it is that you’re planning next. So start planning Christmas now, start by planning what you want people to do after Christmas, and then plan your Christmas Eve with your neighbor in mind.

Now let’s talk about how you can actually promote your Christmas Eve in your community so that you can get more people to attend your Christmas Eve service, because obviously the wider the net, the more fish we are likely to reel in. Actually, I guess you don’t reel with a net, so pull in. So the more people that we can get to our Christmas Eve service, especially those people that we don’t yet know, the more likely we are to have some of those folks stick around. So if we’re going to pull out all the stops for our neighbors, let’s get as many of our neighbors to that service as we can.

I want you to start by creating a landing page on your website. What do I mean by landing page? A landing page is a specific page on your website dedicated for nothing more than Christmas Eve. You should have your service time, location, information about how long people should expect to be there, what might happen in the service, what you have for kids and for families. Make sure that it’s crystal clear and think through any frequently asked questions that people might ask about your church and include them on that landing page. I’m also big on an RSVP, and I’ll get to that in just a few minutes.

The second thing that I want you to do is to create and print a postcard, that’s right. Now, if you have money to mail a postcard to your community, by all means, go ahead and do that. But the primary reason you’re going to print a postcard is so that you have something that your church family can use as an invite to the people that they know that you don’t know. That is one of the best tools that you can put in the hands of the people in your church so that they can invite their friends, their neighbors, their cousins, their colleagues, whoever it is, give them a card, make sure that that card references the landing page on your website, better yet, put a QR code on it that will take people right to that landing page on your website.

Now, maybe you’re not a graphic designer or you don’t have a graphic designer, but there are certainly some websites that you can go to where you can order pre-designed Christmas cards that might work. But you know, one of the best and the easiest ways to do it is on Canva. If you haven’t dove into the Canva world, Canva.com, it is an easy way for you to create graphic designs, and you don’t even have to be a graphic designer to do it. And if you’re a 501c3, you can actually get a free account, so make sure that you explore that. This presentation that I’m going through right here I created in Canva, nothing fancy, nothing extraordinarily special, but very, very simple. And you can create postcards, and Christmas postcards, and they have templates and things that you can use in Canva.

Now, I’ve also got mentioned on the screen here, if you’re watching this, a website called GotPrint.com. I have been using this company, I don’t know them, and I don’t have any incentive from them to promote them, but it is a website that I’ve been using to print business card-sized invitations as well as four by six cards. Their turnaround is relatively quick, and up to this point I haven’t had any bad experiences with them, so I can’t promise the same for you, maybe you have somebody local that you want to use, but GotPrint.com is a website that I’ve been using lately with some churches that I work with.

So you’ve created a landing page, and you’ve created and printed a postcard so that the people in your church can invite their friends and family, third, you’re going to create some social media posts. If you do it in Canva, you can actually create social media posts that have the same graphic design and feel as the postcard that you printed. Make sure that when you’re posting on social media that you’re always linking back to your landing page on your website. You don’t have to have all the details in the graphic, you don’t have to have all the details in your post copy what you always have to do, though, is link back to the landing page on your website so that people can get the information that they need about your Christmas Eve service.

So you’ve created a landing page, you’ve created and printed a postcard, you’ve created and scheduled some social media posts that link back to your landing page, the next thing that you’re going to do is you’re actually going to create an event in your Google Business Profile. That’s right, did you know that you could do that? This is probably one of the most underutilized features in the Google Business Profile. Log into your Google Business Profile and create an event, you can upload a graphic, you can put the service time, the location, it’s awesome, and this gets you more organic traffic when people in your community are Googling for events in your area. So create the event in your Google Business Profile. This should be a regular practice, you should be posting and creating events in your Google Business Profile almost as much as you’re posting on Facebook and Instagram, seriously. So take this seriously, get your Google Business profile and create the event.

The next thing that you should do is create an account on EventBrite and or AllEvents, and create your event there on EventBrite or AllEvents…I can’t remember what the URL is for them, just google AllEvents and create the event. Now, if your event is free, which of course it’s a Christmas Eve service or an Easter service, it is free, then you don’t have to pay for your listing. What this also does is it gives you the ability to collect RSVPs, so that people can actually register for a ticket. Link back to your EventBrite page from your landing page, and say, RSVP for tickets today, and have them click over to your EventBrite page.

Back in the days of COVID, way back in the days of COVID when you had to limit attendance, a lot of churches got really good at creating registrations. Now you might do it in your planning center online, or your own church database, but sometimes if the person who’s doing the RSVP senses or sees that they’re giving the information directly to the church, there might be a little bit of hesitance there. But people who are active in your community who are looking for events and activities, they’re going to be familiar with EventBrite and AllEvents. And what they often fail to realize is that by putting their name and their email address and their phone number in EventBrite to download a ticket, is that they’re actually giving that information to you. Lo and behold, you can collect the names, and the email addresses, and phone numbers of people in your community who are planning to attend your event. Those people otherwise might attend your Christmas Eve service or your Easter service, and you have no idea that they’ve come in and left because they’re probably not going to fill out your connect card. Let’s just face it, people don’t typically do that on their first visit. And if it’s their first visit to your Christmas Eve or to your Easter service, they’re probably not going to fill it out. But if they’ve downloaded a ticket from EventBrite or AllEvents, you have access to that contact information and then you can then email them and invite them to that next thing that you want them to do in January, or just thank them for attending.

Now you’ve created a landing page, you’ve created and printed a postcard, you’ve created social media posts, you’ve created an event in your Google Business Profile, and you’ve created an event in EventBrite, now, another easy and free thing to do is to send a press release. That’s right, send a press release to the local newspaper, local radio station, and any other media outlets that you can think of. And if you don’t think you know of any of them or don’t know what all of them are, ask around in your church, ask around in the community, where can I send a press release where they might actually publish and promote the event that I’m having? I’m going to link in the show notes to a template that I have, I didn’t really create it, I got it from somewhere else, I wish I could remember where I got it, so I’m not trying to take credit for something that I didn’t actually create. I’ve modified what I originally downloaded, but this will help you have a starting point on how you can create and promote a press release which can get you some free publicity in your community for the events and the activities that you’re doing, specifically, in this case, your Christmas Eve service.

Now, I didn’t include in any of these bullet points running paid ads, and that is definitely something that you can do, and if you have a budget you should do. You can run paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, Google Display Network, YouTube, and TikTok if that’s where you want to be promoting and advertising. At Missional Marketing, we can help you do that, so if you need to talk to somebody, make sure that you go to our contact page on our website so that you can schedule an appointment to talk with someone on our team about running ads for you. If you’re planning to run ads for Christmas and you’re listening to this podcast in like November and or December, you need to call us fast because we need to get on it. But for Easter, hey, schedule a call with us now and we can schedule another call in January and we can get you rolling for Easter in the new year.

All right, the last thing that I want to highlight is all those steps that I just walked you through, you need to repeat for your follow-up event. That’s right, so whatever it is that you decided you’re going to do, you’re going to do a sermon series or an outreach event or a workshop or a seminar or a class or ministry event, whatever it is, repeat, create a landing page, print a postcard, create your social posts, create a Google business event, create it on EventBrite, and then promote it, invite people and point people to that, so that they can RSVP and plan to engage with you in the new year. That’s the goal here, right, the goal is not to create Christmas Easter Onlys, but it’s to get people to take next steps and engage with us at the next level in our church.

All right, well, there you have it, some tips, tactics, and tricks to help you engage with your community at the next level, getting the most out of your Christmas Eve service and hopefully, Lord willing, seeing more of those newcomers stick around and come back in the New Year and take their next steps towards discovering Jesus and the life that He wants to give them through a personal relationship with Him. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? It’s all about spreading the Gospel and helping more people become growing disciples of Jesus.

Thanks again for tuning into the Missional Marketing podcast. We appreciate you being there for us, with us, we are here for you if there’s ever anything that Jason or I can do to serve you and your church, make sure that you reach out and let us know. God bless.

 

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