3 Things You Should Do TODAY to Prepare for Christmas

WLI LogoMerry Christmas!

That’s what the over-sized Snowman in Home Depot said two weeks ago when I walked in.

Jason Hatley here (Pastor of Worship Arts @ The Journey and Founder of WorshipLeaderInsights.com) and my family and I just laughed. The Christmas trees, snowmen and blow-up lawn Santas were right there beside the ghosts, witches and Halloween candy.

I bet you’ve seen the same thing, too!

And while it may seem strange to see Christmas decorations out SO early, it’s NOT too early to start planning your Christmas services.

In fact, now is precisely the time you need to be planning for Christmas.  And there are 3 SPECIFIC areas where you need to get started… today!

#1 – FIND NEW ARRANGEMENTS OF CHRISTMAS SONGS
I love Christmas and Christmas music, and I always look forward to October because new arrangements of great Christmas songs come out this time of year. In order to keep the songs fresh for yourself and your team you want to be on the lookout for new versions of the classic Christmas favorites early on.
 
But here’s the thing . . . You need a team to help you with this! I learned a long time ago there’s just too much music out there, so whenever I plan worship (and Christmas) services, I always ask my team for help. Email your team and ask for suggestions. Bring it up in rehearsal. Just be sure to invite your music team to help you scour iTunes, CCLI, and Amazon to find new arrangements.

By finding these new arrangements early, you give yourself time to chart and prepare the music, as well the opportunity to do #2, which is:


#2 – GIVE YOUR TEAM THE MUSIC EARLY
For your music team, nearly every song arrangement at Christmas will be new. So, you want to give them the music earlier than you normally would.
 
One of the luxuries we enjoy during a week of normal services is that in a five song set, you will most likely do four songs that the band already knows, so learning one new song a week isn’t a big deal in personal practice or the rehearsal room.
 
But with Christmas music, you are pulling out a catalog of songs that you only do once a year, and most all of your songs, though familiar, will be like starting from scratch. So, unless you want your rehearsals to drag on longer than necessary, get started in planning the music for your Christmas services early so that you can get the music to your team further in advance.


#3 – SCHEDULE YOUR VOLUNTEERS NOW  
Whether you’re scheduling your current volunteers, or you’re planning to hire an entire orchestra, the earlier you schedule the better.
 
If you are hiring special musicians, Christmas season is the bread and butter time of year for hired musicians. They get a lot of offers at Christmas, especially the good ones, so if you want to hire a horn section at your Christmas Eve service, or an orchestra the 2nd Sunday of Advent, you need to schedule early.
 
For your volunteers, don’t forget that they may have plans for travel over the holidays, so work to get your Christmas schedule done early.

My goal in scheduling is to always be the first date on someone’s calendar. We all know that the first date on the calendar always gets “scheduled around.” The later you wait to get your service on someone’s calendar, the more likely you will be “scheduled over”. Nowhere is this truer than at Christmas.
 

So, how are you doing at preparing for Christmas?  Take time today to get started and ask God to make this the best Christmas ever for your team and your church. 

Your partner in ministry,
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PS – As you begin to prepare for your upcoming Christmas rehearsals ask yourself, “How can I ensure that this year’s Christmas rehearsals run smoothly and lead to a great worship experience on Sunday?”

Over the last 12 years I’ve learned to create some simple, but very effective systems in our Worship Team to help ensure that every rehearsal is a success. After all, great worship rehearsals lead to great worship services.

 In the Leading with Authority in Rehearsal seminar, I walk you through how to develop systems on your team to:

  • How to bring the best out of the musicians on your teamdouble wt
  • Where your authority comes from in rehearsal, and how to use it to create a culture of excellence
  • How to develop your vision for the worship setand inspire your team to embrace it
  • The 4-Step process that will radically transform the culture of your team, create accountability and ensure everyone lives up to your team expectations
  • How to create your Music Plan for maximum impact each week
  • How to invest personally into the lives of your Worship Team members atrehearsal and the weekend service
  • The Journey’s Nine Core Values for Music Planning and how to begin writing your own
  • How to lead a music planning meeting, and the Five Questions you need to be asking every week to get ready for rehearsal!
  • Building momentum, removing distractions and leading your church into powerful worship this Sunday!
  • Cutting your rehearsal time in half and creating more time for personal investment and vision casting
  • How to turn “difficult” team members into your biggest allies
  • How to guarantee that every team member arrives on-time, prepared and knowing their parts
  • Plus much more!

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

Nelson SearcyWorship Planning

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