Plan for Growth During the Christmas Holidays

By Rick Warren

Merry ChristmasOne of the secrets of growth at Saddleback Church is that we usespecial days as an evangelism tool and to keep our members motivated toward the growth of our congregation. In a sense, Saddleback Church was built around three days each year: Easter, Christmas, and Mother’s Day.

Here are some reasons we plan for growth during Christmas:

Christmas attracts the community. You are well aware that many people who normally never come to church will come for Christmas services or Christmas presentations. In addition, your whole community is immersed in Christmas, and many people are more prepared to hear the Gospel than at other times of the year.

Christmas encourages members to bring relatives and friends. Christmas is a perfect time to make a first impression. If your relatives wonder where you’re going to church and you bring them to church on the biggest Sunday of the year, they’ll catch the excitement of the congregation. Your members will find it easier to invite family and friends to church at Christmas than any other time of the year.

Christmas enlarges the vision of your members. This is a time to help your congregation catch a vision of what it will mean for their family and friends to become part of God’s family.

Christmas builds morale within your congregation. People enjoy being a part of something big and exciting; it develops unity and pride among the congregation and the staff. Over the long haul, it’s hard to keep people constantly motivated, but it is easier to get people involved in your church’s Christmas celebrations. People who might not ever get involved in anything else will get involved during Christmas.

Christmas increases your pool of volunteers. We’ve found that a special time like Christmas mobilizes the congregation, and once people are involved, there’s a good chance they’ll stay involved. For instance, we’ll get lots of new volunteers to be greeters at Christmas. Then, we ask them to come back and greet on a regular basis.

Christmas increases your prospect list. Because the congregation brings so many visitors, we receive hundreds of names and contact information during Christmas. Put a plan in place to follow up and see who is most open to evangelism. We also find that Christmas helps to focus people’s prayers as they pray for their friends and family.

Christmas stretches people’s faith. “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.” We’ve found that our Christmas plans often force us to move in faith. God wants us to reach people for Christ, so there is nothing wrong with praying about attendance goals or seeking God’s wisdom about the money to invest in reaching people during this holy holiday.

Let’s pray for each other as we prepare for this Christmas season.

Rick Warren

Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.