The Christmas Season is one of the hardest on church leaders. You are trying to plan dynamic services that are a part of family traditions. You are crafting creative insights from a story many people have heard every year. (I heard one pastor say he knew he had gone too far when he started telling the Christmas story from the perspective of a donkey.) You probably have more than one special event on the calendar. There is the staff party and year-end giving. And the concern about getting 2023 launched like a rocket.
Balancing all these concerns is how most of us enter the most joyful and hectic season. Here are six 6 ways to make your Christmas season feel less frazzled.
- Schedule a weekly sabbath where you do no “church work.” Part of a great Church Operating System is having a healthy Leadership Domain for all. As always, you must lead the way by example. Get out your calendar and mark one day a week for the remainder of the year when you will do no church work. You may think there is NO WAY you can do that with everything you have going on. Ask yourself this question, “what would have to be true for me to lead my church from a full tank spiritually, relationally, and emotionally?”
- Make time with your family the priority. Greg McKeown writes, “I found that when ‘priority’ came into the English language in the 1400s, it was singular. What did it mean? The very first thing — before all other things. (The prior thing.) By definition, you cannot have more than one priority. And for 500 years, the word meant a singular idea, and then it evolved, and now we talk about ‘priorities’ all the time.” There are plenty of stories of pastors’ families who hate the Christmas season because dad or mom is not around. Make Christmas about Christ’s mission for you and your family first.
- In the Great Commission Engine, Piston #3 is called Surrendered Living. Surrendered Living means sacrificing your time, talent, treasure, and attention for the sake of another. Many churches are in suburban settings where pastors feel pressured to “perform” for the people in the church and community. One easy way to break that mindset is to serve someone less fortunate. It will help you keep your head on straight and set an example of “dying to self” for your church.
- Make laughing a part of your routine. In The Positive Dog, Jon Gordon writes, “Children laugh about 400 times a day, while adults laugh only about 25 times. Perhaps we need to be more like children and smile and laugh more. Research shows that smiling produces more serotonin in your brain and laughter reduces stress, increases your immune system, and causes your body to release “feel good” endorphins. Today I want to encourage you to find enough humor to make you laugh and smile for at least 10 minutes.” What are the things that make you laugh in life now?
- Focus on your ONE. Yes, there is a lot of chaos. But your ONE is your WHY. Focus on them. Plant and water the seeds of encouragement in their lives. And it will give you perspective on why you do all of the prep and services this season.
- Plan now to get away to recharge at the beginning of the year. We are a little biased, but we can think of no better place to do that than the ChurchOS Conference on January 24-25! The sun shines in Phoenix in January. Hundreds of like-minded leaders will gather and collaborate about how to reach and grow their communities for Christ. You will be encouraged and walk out with action steps for the rest of the year. We hope to see you there.
Remember, you are heroes of the faith. Be strong and courageous this holiday season!