Non-Christmas Eve service for kids worked well!

Posted: January 24, 2012 by efenster in Stories

Most of us in church work have already turned our attention to how we will observe the season of Lent.  Before we completely say good-bye to the Christmas season, take time to reflect on what seemed to work well for you this past year and what you would change. 

Share your thoughts here by posting to the bottom of this article.  Here’s a reflection from the pastor of a church that decided to hold its Christmas Eve service for children the week prior to Christmas…

I was frustrated with our schedule of Christmas eve (8:00 p.m.) and Christmas day (10 a.m.) services this [past] year, especially in regards to young families. Christmas eve is a busy night for families and whenever we offered the service it was going to be ‘wrong” for many young families. (i.e. in conflict with various family plans). Christmas day at 10:00? Not a good time with children. (Perhaps Suzanna Wesley could have gathered the family around but for the rest of us mere mortals… not gonna happen.)

 I expressed my frustration to a young father, Mike, who pretty bluntly said, he and his family would not be available for either service. My comment was “I think Christmas eve is probably the worst time for a Christmas eve service anyway for a young family.”

 We brainstormed. What about a family style, non-traditional Christmas eve service the Sunday before Christmas at 6:00 p.m.? Informal service, youth group kids singing solos, preschool kids sharing a brief Christmas carol, the Christmas story read to the children from a children’s picture book at the feet of “Grandpa Mike” in a rocking chair, a carol or two, a procession to the fellowship hall for birthday cake for Jesus and some carols as a group. AND everyone would be on their way by 7:00 p.m. since the next day was a school day.

 It as worth a try, right?

 The evening came. We had no clue who might come and how many. Not wanting to be depressed I didn’t really peek to see the “crowd” (20 or 30?) until a couple of minutes before 6:00. About 150 people, among them 30+ kids under 5 years old came up to sit with “Grandpa Mike” to hear the story! It actually felt a little “crowded”. Almost all of them stayed for cake and carols.

 — Rev. Chris Danielson, First United Methodist Church, LaGrange, IN

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