The Importance of Christmas in Youth Ministry
Christmas comes earlier every year. You know it, I know it, we know it. It’s just the reality. We do want to talk about Christmas today, but we’re not talking about it this early just because we want to rush towards Christmas. We are talking about it today because we want you to be ready for it when it comes! It may seem far off, but fall is a crazy season, and before you know it, it will be mid-December, and you won’t have a plan in place to make the most of Christmas for your students.
Christmas in Youth Ministry is a Pivotal Time
The challenge is this: How do you position your youth ministry in such a way to take advantage of the Christmas season?
First off: Understand people’s emotions about the Christmas season.
What I mean by this is that I have noticed over the years that as the Christmas season approaches, more and more people will be more receptive to the message of the gospel and the incarnation of Christ on earth. This is important because you can utilize this aspect of Christmas to put together plans to get new students to come to church. And you can plan that out well because it’s only October. Maybe you develop a plan where you start working with your students and teaching them how to tell the story of Christ coming to the earth in a 3-minute elevator pitch. Then once December comes around, they start using that quick pitch as a tactic to get more of their friends (who are now more receptive) to join them at church.
The table is set to have more meaningful people with more people in our ministry time. If you were to deploy a tactic like this, you would also need to ensure that whatever youth time you have around Christmas is solid times of preaching and engagement for those students. This, again, goes back to the importance of planning your Christmas strategy NOW, rather than December 21st.
Some examples of things that youth ministers do during the Christmas Season (use this for inspiration for ideas of your own!):
Christmas games for your mid-week
A 4-week series about the birth of Jesus Christ
Christmas food drives
The most important thing about these examples is that you take the seasonality to hit the topic of Christ coming, but you also give it time to breathe and to develop through October and November.
How are you going to spend your Christmas Window?
Based on feedback that we have received at numerous conferences, events, and time spent with youth workers is that you are hungry for resources that will put the word of God in the hands of your students. Now, I don’t mean this as a shameless plug, even if it sounds like one, but we have produced a Christmas/Advent devotional every year for the past five years now, and we’ve got one that is currently on pre-sale that we’re offering called “Wonder.” This resource, we believe, is one way that you can ensure that you’re making the most out of your Christmas window.
*As an interesting side note, every year, this Christmas resource always turns out to be one of the most wide-spread use-cases when it comes to which denominations are using this resource.*
Besides a devotion, maybe your church is doing a congregation-wide advent study on Sundays, or you could be using a downloadable devotion from a Bible app on your phone. Whatever it may be, challenge yourself to consider how you will make the most of your Christmas window.
What are some of the best practices when building a Christmas plan?
Communicate your vision for what you want your students to get out of this time. This helps you have a starting point and an ending point to base your plan off. It also looks so good to parents when you can have resources in their students'' hands a week before advent, rather than three days into it. It helps the parents to see that you are focused on their students, not falling behind and putting off decisions.
Build a framework of accountability. Piggybacking off the idea of informing your parents; make sure that they know what the plan is. Inform them, that way they are there to hold you and their students accountable. The last thing you want to do is to put this awesome plan in place, but not tell your parents about it, and your students don’t do anything outside of the time they spend in your youth room/building.
Follow-up with encouragement. A week or two in, ask your students how they like your plan, what they’re learning, how they feel like Christmas has become real to them. Maybe you have a student who has been growing leaps and bounds share about what they are going through and what they’re learning from Christ. There are a ton of ideas, but ensure that you are encouraging your students in their efforts to make Christmas that much more real to them.
Here is the final thought, and possibly one of the coolest things you can experience. If you put a plan in place, you execute it well, and you follow these best practices, your students could really feel an impact from Christmas. How awesome and reassuring would it be for you when, this time next year, your students come to you and say, “What are we doing for Christmas this year?” We want that for you, and we want that for your students. If there is any help we can offer, or if we can explain these ideas any further, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can email, chat in, or call us. Click here to see all of our contact information!