The holiday season is in full swing. Sales are happening at every store. It seems like every house on the block has a Christmas tree displayed in front of a big, bay window. Nativity scenes are set out with care. Christmas cards are starting to make their arrival in the mail. These are just a few of our favorite Christmas traditions that we’re all beginning to experience.
But what most people don’t experience is the inner workings of the local church during Christmas. To people outside of ministry work, they think of candle light Christmas Eve services, Angel Trees, and special messages about the Babe that was born in a manager. Yet, there’s so much more that goes on within the church doors during this time of year, which is arguably the busiest time of year for ministry.
With so much to do and so much to plan, things can quickly become overwhelming. Church staff can become overworked, overtired, and lose sight of the true reason behind the season. To help avoid that, here are 9 ways to support your church staff this Christmas season. By utilizing these suggestions, not only will your staff feel more supported but you as a ministry leader will feel better equipped to tackle what’s ahead too.
1. Plan Ahead
There’s nothing worse than finding out about a school project the night before it’s due. It puts stress on the parents, the student, and the final outcome is not as great as it could be.
But this is true across all areas of life. Luke 14:28 says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” This verse emphasizes the practical benefits of planning ahead from good financial practices to determining details to analyzing needs of your events.
Whether it’s your weekly sermon, fundraising event, or Christmas Eve service, there’s nothing worse than the last minute scramble to get everything together. So, take time this week to sit down and arrange your Christmas services. It will save both you and your staff a lot of stress.
2. Communication Really Is Critical
Our general rule of thumb at SecureGive is: If you feel like you’re overcommunicating, you’re probably communicating just enough. This is true for telling your church about digital giving but also communicating with your staff about the many things happening in December.
Make sure you have an open and continual dialogue with your staff about project progressions, your expectations, their expectations, and how everyone is feeling.
3. Delegate Tasks When You Can
You can’t do it all. But neither can Betty, who manages the front desk or Josh, your IT Director or Will, the Youth Pastor or Sarah, the Bookkeeper. Any type of ministry work involves teamwork, especially something as large scale as the Christmas season.
Matthew 24:45-47 says, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.” Any household (or church) cannot run based on the efforts of a single person alone. We have to ask for help from others. We have to delegate tasks and seek wise counsel.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or split up the work for a project. Get others involved and lean on them for their expertise. After all, many hands do make light work.
4. Trust Your Team
Take a step back, let your team do what they do best. God has given them unique gifts and abilities that they are using to serve your church each Sunday.
1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” So whether it’s stage lighting, graphic design, or email communication, trust your staff and let them be good stewards of the gifts God has given them.
5. Show Appreciation
A little thank you can go a long way. This is true for thanking your church for their generosity and in thanking your staff for their hard work.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
This thank you could be an acknowledgement from the stage asking people to clap in gratitude for all the hard work that your staff has put into such a special Christmas service. It could be a handwritten thank you note waiting on their desk one morning. It could be thanking your staff with a Christmas bonus if your church has the available funds.
Take your appreciation one step further by celebrating your staff while you celebrate the season. Shout out a staff member during your staff meeting for their hard work orchestrating a successful gift drive for under resourced children in your community. Present a nice engraved trophy for their dedication and years of service. Take your production team to lunch (on you) for the overtime they’ve put into making the music, lights, graphics, and stage setup look and sound so good.
6. Staff Traditions
Everyone loves a good tradition. It gives everyone something fun to look forward to during the midst of a busy schedule. Consider hosting a cookie decorating contest. Have a spirit week where church staff dress up in a certain theme. Give everyone a fun superlative at a staff lunch. Play secret santa or white elephant at your staff Christmas party. Pick a tradition to adopt in your office to spread the holiday cheer.
7. Give the Gift of Rest
God is serious about rest. Exodus 20:8-11 gives us the 10 Commandments, one of which is to rest on the Sabbath. Leviticus 25:4, 8-12 tells us that the land needs to rest. Genesis 2:2-3 shows us that God Himself rested after creation.
Consider giving your staff a few days off (or maybe even the entire week) after the holidays to rest. Not only have they been busy planning church Christmas activities, but they’ve been busy with planning their own Christmas at home too. So, give them some time off to sleep in, spend extra time with family, and catch up on their shows. Give them time to rest and recharge before jumping into the big plans the new year will bring to your church.
8. Take Care of You, Too
You can’t support others if you’re not in a good place yourself. Make sure that you’re eating a healthy, home cooked meal at least once a day. Get 8 hours of sleep (or as close to it possible) each night. Drink lots of water. And ask for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Your health is important for you, your team, and your church.
The Bible is clear in its instructions, especially about prayer. 1 Thessalonians 6:16-18 says, “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:1 says, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.” James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” These are just 3 of the hundreds of verses in the bible specifically about prayer.
As a ministry leader, I know that you’ve seen first hand the power that prayer can have. Let this be a reminder to you to pray in all things. Pray peace over your staff. Pray that their faith would be multiplied. In the midst of the hectic holiday season, don’t let prayer be the practice that falls to the wayside.
SecureGive is praying over your church, your team, and you this Christmas. We know you have a lot on your shoulders and hope that these 9 things alleviate some of the stress during this season.