It may feel like you’re limping from 2020 to 2021, but you don’t have to! Our goal with this episode is to help you gain momentum during this season, so you’ll be ready to soar when the new year arrives.
As part of that, we’re giving away a free portion of a resource called Offering Talks. Offering Talks is a 52-week offering talk plan that gives you a simple script for the giving moment at your church. These will give you solid moments of generosity at your church as you end the year.
But, before you can use the offering talks, you need to have a plan for the season. Let’s talk about your options when it comes to your Christmas sermons and services.
When you’re telling the same story for four weeks every year, it can be hard to get excited about planning a sermon series, especially if you like to get creative or add excitement to your sermons. But if your goal is to create space for reflection, grow as a church body, and a little bit of fun during Christmas, you know you have to be intentional. So today we’re going to be talking about real, concrete ideas to help you achieve those goals while launching you into the new year.
One of the first things you have to consider as Christmas approaches is this: how are you going to observe advent?
If you’re not familiar with advent, it’s a time of anticipating the celebration of Jesus’ birth, but also anticipating Jesus’ second coming. As Christians, we look forward to the celebration of Christmas and long for His return. It’s also a time of preparation for his coming and instilling habits of quiet and reflection.
If you’re considering an advent sermon series- we have a number of these series on MinistryPass- you’ll want to focus on one that helps your people develop holy habits. You should also encourage your people to put what they’re learning into practice throughout the week. This might be accomplished through any of the following:
When it comes to sermon series downloads, we keep seeing the popularity of advent rise with each passing year. Especially with the craziness of this past season, 2020 is a great year to do a reflective advent series- it will lend a sense of stability and peace to an otherwise hectic year.
An advent series isn’t the only option open to you for the Christmas season, though. In fact, if there was ever a year that we NEEDED something nostalgic, it’s 2020.
Think about what makes your memories of Christmas special. It was because the family was together, you were focused on Jesus, and life was slower. You can take those ideas, that simple reaction to the Christmas story and this time of year, and create a theme around that. As you do, talk about how celebrating the Christmas story is important- it allows you to cut out the distractions and focus on what’s really important.
Nostalgia opens the door to remind people of that kernel of Christmas: What is Christmas about? What draws us to Christmas every year? It’s more than just those traditions, it’s something deeper- which is a compelling way to drive home your point during Christmas.
If the idea of a nostalgic Christmas theme appeals to you, here are some sermon series to help:
If using finding refuge in nostalgia isn’t your style, you could head in the opposite direction and lean into what people are feeling and experiencing this year. Our Christmas Isn’t Cancelled series is great for this- because no matter what happens or what we have to wait for, Christmas isn’t canceled. We can still celebrate Jesus’ birth and serve each other.
If you use a series like this, we recommend finding a way to serve your community during this season. Obviously, we have to be careful about how we go about serving people during a pandemic, but the season of giving and celebration isn’t over just because this year is different.
You can also use add some creative elements if you’re looking to add something fun to your sermon series. Here are our favorite series with creative elements:
Christmas At the Movies– while you’ll always be preaching from the Bible, this sermon series is set up to help you use illustrations from movies. The series tells the Christmas story, but we used classic films to help illustrate or draw out certain themes from the Biblical text. It’s a ton of fun.
Along similar lines, we have a series called “Christmas Playlist,” which takes Christmas songs and uses them as illustrations. We have another series, called “Sounds of the Season,” that does the same thing using traditional hymns.
Another creative way to tell the Christmas story is to tell is as if you’ve never heard what happens. We have several series that will help you look at Jesus’ birth from the perspective of someone who’s never heard the story or who was living it:
While we love the fun series mentioned in the previous section, there’s no shame in opting to do things the way you’ve always done them. So much is changing in our world right now, that there’s comfort in something familiar and traditional. If that’s the tactic you decide to take, we have sermon series that can help:
After Christmas- then what? You want to use a series that’s going to help you pivot into the new year, strong. The decision on where to go after Christmas is significant- you don’t want to just slide into 2021 without a plan for something you can invite people back to after Christmas.
Here’s what you’re going to see: a lot of people will be looking back at the end of 2020 and thinking that it’s a waste or a tragedy. Loved ones and job have been lost this year. But from a ministry standpoint, there’s also an opportunity to look back and say, “Maybe God was doing something here we didn’t realize.” Choose a series that will give you the opportunity to reflect on what God has done, and look forward to what He’s going to do in the coming year, no matter what comes. Here are some of our favorite ways to do that:
What type of Christmas series will you be preaching at your church this year? If you’re still looking for the perfect series, check out our Christmas Sermon Series Collection.