5 Ways to Be a Successful Youth Pastor in the Christmas Season
The Christmas season is quickly approaching. I know if you are traditionalist you are rolling your eyes at me right now and holding your Pumpkin Spice Lattes high.
You want to get through Halloween and Thanksgiving before shifting gears to the Christmas season. Don't worry I completely AGREE with you!
BUT... BUT... BUT...
If you don't think about your Christmas season NOW you will be reacting vs leading your way through this important season in ministry.
Here are 5 Ways to Be a Successful Youth Pastor this Christmas Season...
1. Plan Ahead. Make a Schedule.
This is both for your ministry side and personal side of life. Someone very wise once said, "if you don't control your schedule someone else will."
It is better to plan than to react to your schedule. Nail down with your spouse and family FIRST the important things you want to be sure to include in your Christmas schedule. Do this FIRST so when you start to get the invites to all of the Sunday School Department Christmas parties you can reference your schedule PRIOR to saying, "yes."
This will save a lot of heartache as you trying to explain to your spouse why his party isn't as important as your attending the Senior Adult Christmas Party... hello Deviled Eggs!
Secure your personal holiday calendar FIRST then add ministry items to it vs the other way around.
2. Focus on the Reason for the Season
I know this sounds super Sunday School answer-ish here. Like DUH we all know the reason for the season is Jesus. Then why to so many of us, me included, say my favorite thing about Christmas is time with family?
I am NOT saying family around Christmas isn't important. It is. But let's remember the real reason for the season is to celebrate Jesus' birth.
If you are a parent, like me, you know how awesome births are. It is an amazing time to celebrate and hoop and holler. Birthdays are like that too. Sure, Jesus' birth wasn't just a common birth like one of my children's. He is the savor of the world! But let's remember Christmas is about Jesus coming to live among us and redeem us to the Father.
It's not about family.
It's not about holiday games.
It's not about those Tacky Christmas Sweaters
It's a CELEBRATION.
Celebrate JESUS and his birthday!
3. Don't Go About the Season Alone
Even if you are single... to be successful this Christmas season be sure you are not going it alone. Both personally and in your ministry.
First personally. Go to parties with someone. Take a friend. Take a spouse. Take a child with you. Attend them with those you love and desire to be around. It will make the parties and events better but also it will create a deeper relationship.
Now in your ministry! You don't have to be Captain Christmas. Now you might want to be and it is awesome for sure. But spread the cheer around and allow others to assist you in the decorating, planning, and executing of your ministry's holiday theming and events.
I don't mean for this to be a shameless plug for a YM360 resource. But God With Us: A 25-Day Christmas & Advent Devotional is a perfect resource for you to put in the hands of your students. You can journey with them this Christmas season and learn about Jesus and his birth together. Click HERE to check them out today.
4. Take Time to Refresh
I know this is a given and you are looking to skip ahead here but please don't. So much will going on you will need to ensure you take time refresh. Running from Christmas concert to plays to parties you will burn out.
Ok, I also know this is during COVID. So there might not be any Christmas performances for your students to invite you to. I mean here where I live in the south there will be. But I understand there might not be where you are.
How do you refresh? That is a great question. Take time to sit with Jesus. Enjoy His Word. Practice the discipline of meditation. Sleep in a few days. Remember point number 1? Plan the margin NOW so you don't get to the end of this Christmas season with nothing left to give as you turn the corner to 2021!
5. Don't Shut Down the Ministry
I do NOT want to step on any toes here at all. But I personally never understood why so many churches shut down during the Christmas holiday.
I remember on year Christmas Day was on a Sunday and our church staff was trying to decide if we were going to cancel services to people could be with their family.
I am not here to debate you on the merits of shutting down your ministry during the Christmas season. But I do want to submit to you a question...
What message does this send to believers and also to an unbelieving world? Does it communicate that the church values the family? Does it communicate that your church understands the hustle of life and during the Christmas break it is time to slow down a bit and focus on the thins that really matter in life?
I leave you with this. Your students are home!!! In fact, you might even not be quarantined! This might mean you can create some awesome ministry moments to minister to and with your students the holiday season.
Robbie Crawford wrote a great article titled, "DON'T MISS THE SPORTS PAUSE." I'd encourage you to check it out and see if it helps your ministry.
Thank you for all you do in ministry. It is a joy to partner with you as you live out your calling in your local context. It is an honor to serve you. Please let us know how we can serve you during this season!