Closed for Christmas

December 7, 2005 by

There’s a little media frenzy today over the fact that several mega-churches are choosing to close their doors on Christmas day. You can take your pick of sources over at Google News, or the CT Weblog has a nice overview.

The arguments go back and forth, but it basically looks like this:

Pro: When Christmas falls on a Sunday very few people come, so rather than mobilize all our volunteers for a minimal turn out, we’re choosing to focus our efforts on other extra services, like a Christmas Eve service.

Con: What?! Canceling church?! Because of Christmas?! It’s proof that mega-churches are evil! Run for the hills…

OK, maybe I got a little carried away with my con, but you get the idea.

I’m not sold one way or the other. It’s true that lots of people visit churches at Christmas time, but with Christmas falling on a Sunday it throws that trend for a loop. Attendance may be up at Christmas, but it’s down when Christmas falls on a Sunday.

Frankly I think churches are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t (so to speak). Going ahead with normal Sunday services on Christmas morning will probably result in low attendance and increased holiday burnout for your volunteers. But canceling Sunday services on Christmas morning is resulting in bad publicity and lots of bickering (feel free to duke it out in the comments).

What I think is interesting is that this is another example of church marketing. Pastor and author Rob Bell likes to say that ‘church marketing’ makes him sick, but his church, Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Mich., is among many that will be closed on Christmas day. That decision has marketing and communication implications. As much as it may make him sick, ignoring those implications isn’t a good idea.

Whether your church goes ahead with Christmas Sunday services or cancels them, either move has marketing implications. 180+ articles on Google News bear that out

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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46 Responses to “Closed for Christmas”

  • Aaron
    December 7, 2005

    My opinion is that canceling worship because Christmas falls on a Sunday is a very bad idea. This is just my personal feeling, but it feels wrong to not have worship on the day that we celebrate the birth of the one who we worship.
    I understand holiday volunteer burnout but what about having a ‘lite’ service. Maybe just one person on piano or guitar sitting on a stool leading some christmas songs perhaps taking requests to make it feel more like a family sing along time. A single volunteer could run lights, screens and sound if the setup was simple enough.
    If the dress is normally more formal than relaxed encourage everyone to come in more casual clothing because they’ve spent the morning with their children opening presents and having that big christmas morning feast.
    What about a later service time?

  • Dave Davis
    December 7, 2005

    Great post! I have seen the reports all day today. Media cracks me up. We are one of the churches that WILL NOT be having church on Christmas Day. We were thinking about sending out a press release today, informing our community that we will be closed on Christmas day, in an effort to capitalize on all this buzz.
    I think most of the people we attract would think more of us if they new we were closed on Christmas Day.

  • Jason
    December 7, 2005

    Here’s my 2 cents. Why are people so upset that some churches are not worshiping on the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus? If the day Jesus was born is important to the masses, then we need to get upset about the more glaring error of the month. History tells us Jesus was born in the late spring. We’ve got it all screwed up!

  • Josh
    December 7, 2005

    We aren’t a mega-church by any means, but we WILL NOT be having service on Christmas Day. Being less than a year old, we haven’t built up our volunteer base to be able to compensate for the volunteers will not be home for Christmas. Many of the same people will also be gone on New Year’s Day… but we’re going to struggle through that one. We are having a special Christmas Eve candlelight service, which expect a pretty good turnout.

  • Derek
    December 7, 2005

    Well, we fall in the WILL BE open category. We are having two Christmas Eve services on Saturday night and then will have a single service Sunday morning. We won’t be having any of our Life Groups(sunday school) but still want to give those that want it the opportunity to worship.

  • Troy
    December 7, 2005

    Christmas morning is the one day a year that should be reserved for the family! Yes, it is a holy day. Yes, it is the day that we celebrate the birth of our Savior. But there is something very sacred and Christ honoring about setting aside this day as a unique day in the life of a family- a day not filled with activity and stress, but a day to relax, enjoy the blessings of God and spend time with family!

  • Janna
    December 8, 2005

    We are having a family service on Christmas day. Not utilizing any of the normal volunteers (nursery workers, etc), just bringing the family together to celebrate. Its a very rare thing to have Christmas on a Sunday. I do agree with the day of rest thing but I am excited to celebrate the holiday with my church family. :)

  • Kyle Hufford
    December 8, 2005

    I am the Creative Arts Dir. at a medium sized church, and instead of having 3 services we are having just 1. Frankly I have felt it strage in the past that there are no church services on Christmas Day anymore. Well at least there are not as many. It only makes sense to be in church on Christmas. Christ is the true meaning of Christmas and we should be in church worshipping that fact. I think the popularity with Christmas Eve services has been applified by our culture of using Christmas for other means. A Christmas Eve service does not make as much sense as a Christmas Day service. Well since it is not a perfect world we are stuck with Christmas Eve, and everyone who has choosen to have a service on the 25th this year will suffer from low attendence. I just wish the case were different.

  • s. zeilenga
    December 8, 2005

    I think it is interesting how on one hand we have some media hype about the Target and other chain stores not using the word “Christmas” and ooohhh how mad that makes some Christians. But then on the other hand we have some churches canceling services and ooohhh how mad that makes another group of christians.
    Somewhere in all the hullaboo we seem to either be losing in the area of relevance or losing in the area of reverence…

  • Andrew Barlow
    December 8, 2005

    We, too, are not having services on Christmas Day–we feel like we can do a great church family celebration on Christmas Eve then enjoy the holiday at home with families. We’re having three Christmas Eve services then shutting down. We were interviewed by the local paper yesterday and were nicely mentioned in what I consider a balanced article (click here to read it.) I feel fortunate that the reporter saw fit to include the name & highlights of our Christmas Eve event. All in all a good thing…

  • Garrett Frazier
    December 8, 2005

    I am on staff at a church about 150 people. We are not doing a service on Christmas Day but it appears that the reason we approached it was different. We looked at it from this angle: what as a church is our driving focus for Christmas this year. As a church we are promoting families and anything that we can do that develop the relationship we are doing. That is the reason we decided to not a Christmas morning service. It would be detrimental (sp?) to where the church is going.

  • Mark McWhorter
    December 8, 2005

    I have enjoyed the posts – nice to see other perspectives. Our church is a medium sized one, and we will be having a Sunday service. We have a Candlelight service on Christmas Eve, and will have a Christmas celebration service on Sunday with no small groups that day. I personally think more people will come to church on Christmas Day as opposed to New Year’s Day…that opens up a whole other issue!

  • dan perkins
    December 8, 2005

    I don’t believe the church, in general, acts as generous or compasionate as it thinks itself to be. Our generosity should be toward those searching, hurting and lost. This was the example of Jesus. However, Jesus also pulled Himself and His disciples aside for some rest. Those who would choose to be critical most likely haven’t been part of a team responsible for the worship and programming of the Christmas season. I believe on either side of the arguement there should be grace. I also believe whatever the outcome… To have a Christmas day service or not to have a Christmas day service, the lost and those most needy of receiving the gift of Christ should be considered.

  • Greg Fisher
    December 9, 2005

    Here in East Africa we always have a worship service every Christmas day…whether it falls on Sunday or not. For us, having Christmas and Sunday together is like getting a holiday. Only ONE main worship service on Christmas week.

    At first–to my American bones–that seemed a bit of an inconvenience…taking time away from family…etc. But, after 15 years, it now seems like the most sensible thing to do. I can’t feature Christmas without a special worship service.

    Of course our people are unable to produce the annual orgy of material gifts and feasting that is so common in America…but, you know what? That isn’t what Christmas is all about anyway.

  • Steve
    December 9, 2005

    Our church isn’t holding a regular gathering, but rather inviting people to bake cookies, bring them in, and join us to deliver them to needy families.
    Christmas is a family time, and for me the decision not to hold a service was easy. Its one of the few times each year where relationships are strengthened, and where people actually gather in their homes to celebrate Christ (in one way or another).
    I don’t believe the local church has to be an 800 pound gorilla that must keep every jot of the law, all of the time. This year is an exception.
    Me personally? I want to be with my family that day. I am not a paid lead pastor, and I work at a hospital fulltime. I have no other day to meet with my family. I get no other days off.
    I don’t want church to be a burden that day. I would rather encourage my congregation to go love. God knows we need the practice.

  • Scott
    December 9, 2005

    My biggest complaint about the coverage of this is that many of the reports make it sound as if worship starts and ends at the church door. We are not having Christmas services this year but mainly because we never have a Christmas service. But like many evangelical churches we teach that worship of God is a constant and ongoing thing. Therefore we have been sending the message that although we will not be worshipping God as a community of believers on Christmas day that we will be worshipping Him throughout the day as we spend time with family and friends.

  • AaronJ
    December 9, 2005

    It’s really hard to be honest with ourselves and relalize that hanging on to tradition is mere leaglism and has nothing to do with the Bible. You can not like it, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Take a look at how and why we came to even celebrate Christmas and you might have a different “feeling” about the tradition. It’s not as pretty as you might think.
    — We’re having a Christmas Eve service only.

  • Fr. J. Steele, CSC
    December 9, 2005

    The closing of Protestant churches on Christmas is a sad symptom of a couple of basic problems in the churches and in American society.
    First, when the unwrapping of presents is so important that public prayer is cancelled, we have to look at the problem of materialistic idolatry which has overtaken the celebration of the sacred event.
    Secondly, those who wish to worship on Christmas morning have the right to do so. They are the ones who have it right. So, they may not have the big choir, the big gaudy event, but even a simpler liturgy, even one that affords a more reflective mood is preferable to a locked door. Since when does the convenience of professional ministers take precedence over the desires of even a few people to pray in their church on the second holiest day of the year?
    Thirdly, the professional ministers of the megachurches (and perhaps their members) are chronically addicted to huge crowds. What an ego rush to have thousands listening to your every word! So now a few hundred hardly seem worth the effort. Shame! Some churched dont ever have more than a few hundred worshippers. Are you too good for that small of a ministry?
    This reminds me of a scripture, Genesis 18. Abraham is pleading with God not to destroy the City of Sodom for the sake of the righteous the righteous there. After fearfully questioning God again and again if the for the sake of a hundred, or fifty would he spare the city, God finally answers him in v. 32: answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
    If God can spare an evil city for the sake of ten righteous, cannot a Church open its doors for a few hundred worshipers? Or should the Christian like a certain couple two thousand years ago “find no room at the inn?”

  • Mark McWhorter
    December 9, 2005

    Wow! Fr. J. Steele, strong opinions…
    Nowhere in this thread did I see anyone say, that opening Christmas presents was more important than going to church. What I heard is that people long to spend some time with family and some churches have decided to make it easier for their families to do so. Others haven’t. Neither one is right or wrong – just different. One thing I am always reminding myself of as a pastor…God instituted family WAY BEFORE He instituted the church.
    Second, sounds like you have some issues with the whole size thing. Jesus spoke to large crowds and small crowds. One was not more or less effective than the other – just different. Can we do things differently and that be okay? I certainly hope so! I agree with AaronJ’s post regarding legalism. Regardless of what your churches are doing, service or no service, have a great time worshipping with your families and friends this Christmas!

  • Mike A
    December 9, 2005

    Preachers only work one day a week as it is. I say too bad, they should open the store even if only one customer shows up. Is church only valuable if a lot of people come? Seriously, why would anyone want to give up one week worth of revenue? Unless, it’s to celebrate something like the birthday of the CEO…..Oh!

  • Josh
    December 9, 2005

    I wonder if Colossians 2 speaks to this issue at all.
    (Col 2:16-17 NLT) So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules were only shadows of the real thing, Christ himself.

  • Kerry
    December 10, 2005

    We typically have a really poor turnout for the SuperBowl, and on big Summer Holidays, and big 3 day weekends, everyone goes to the lakes here in AZ. But we don’t cancel Church for that. Why should we be afraid of “Low attendance” on Christmas?
    I would begin to question the churches motives behind sunday mornings, that do decide to cancel Christmas services. Do they do church just to “Get as many people as possible through the doors” or do they feel that in order to worship they must have (Fill in number here), or else it isn’t worth it, it isn’t church?
    I also understand the Volunteer thing, letting them be with their families. But isn’t that a decision we should let them make? Let THEM tell us they can’t make it, and then it’s on us to find people to fill those in. As far as childrens programs/nursery, Isn’t it much better to have the WHOLE family together on that day?
    Just repeat this sentence about 10 times and then tell me, that It can truly make sense to you…
    “We will cancel church because it’s Christmas.”

  • Dave
    December 10, 2005

    As a volunteer church musician, I don’t like to hear that finding a sufficient staff of volunteers is one of the reasons for cancelling services on Christmas day. This severely underestimates the hearts of the volunteer staff.

  • Darryl
    December 10, 2005

    Tough issue, this one. Here in Australia most churches will be open on Christmas Day. It’s just always been that way (as far as I know).
    Some people have suggested in the comments above that Christmas Day is a family day, and a day to relax without all the stress of setting up the sound gear, getting the ushers and carpark attenders together, etc. But isn’t that what “the Sabbath day of rest” is all about? Shouldn’t we be relaxing with our family every Sunday, and setting that day aside as a special day in the week? And if that’s the thinking behind closing churches on Christmas Day, then why do we work so hard without anytime to spend with family on a normal Sunday?
    I don’t know what the answer to this is, but I thought it was worth throwing into the mix.

    December 10, 2005

    Closed for Christmas, even churches

    Speculations have surfaced that some churches are combating the nominal C&E (Christmas & Easter) Christians by keeping their doors closed on Christmas this year, to goad these nominal Christians to either attend more regularly or don’t…

  • Radical Bender
    December 12, 2005

    Frankly, I just don’t see what the big deal is. Growing up in my moderately-conservative small church, we never went to church on Christmas. Not once. We had Christmas Eve services for the express purpose of celebrating the birth of Christ and then we had Christmas Day to celebrate the same within our family. Now that I’m an adult, the same thing is happening at my large, progressive megachurch. I’ll go to the service on Saturday (Christmas Eve) and spend Sunday with my sister’s family.
    I really don’t understand why everyone’s getting bent out of shape about this now. It’s not like we’re not celebrating Christ’s birth in church in all the preceding weeks or even on Christmas Day.

  • jessica
    December 12, 2005

    We aren’t really a megachurch (4,000 member Presbyterian Church in the midwest), but are open on Christmas Day. Instead of the usual four services however, we are having one casual family service with a time for Christmas cookies and punch afterwards. We do not anticipate this service to be as well attended as our Sunday services usually are, but I don’t think the staff here would ever consider just not having any services (at one point they were going to offer two on Christmas Day).

  • kevin
    December 12, 2005

    There are quite a few families out there who have family members who only attend once a year on Christmas Day, or maybe Easter too. We get two chances a year for them to experience corporate worship, and those may be the only two times they hear the Gospel. Take away one of those days, and you have just cut their opportunities by 50%. If it’s a sacrifice to have a service on Christmas day, then so be it! We need to do all we can whenever we can, not just when it’s convenient.

  • djchuang
    December 12, 2005

    All days of the calendar week being equal, there is a 1 in 7 chance that Christmas falls on a Sunday! So, mathematically speaking, a church that would decide to close on Christmas Day will close about once every 7 years. I don’t know what other days a church would decide to close on…

  • sean
    December 12, 2005

    kind of confused about what significance there could be about christmas falling on a sunday.
    as far as i know, the resurrection we celebrate sundays trumps christmas’ movable feast, so i guess there should be the service celebrating resurrection.
    i remember a sunday evening service phenomenon at a vancouver church. it sort of sucked all the hip youth of the time from the lower mainland, it was a great schmoozfest. anyhow, it wasn’t launched, it began with a few people who met regularly sunday evenings for years, and that grew.
    the notion of a daily office, the practice, where a priest or minister goes through the liturgy at appointed times, perhaps a bell having rung for the people in the midst of their day to hear and know that it is midday prayer. the priest doing his work.
    a reminder that worship is not for the gathered faithful, but for the worship of God.
    i know my mom sometimes freaked out getting the christmas meal just right. if ministers and volunteers are overwhelmed, let them step back a bit, remember it is a Sunday, and do what they are to do. it’s not christmas, it’s a meal.
    i know that is tough for the variety show format a lot of churches present weekly, but strip it down, like they once did the altars on good friday.
    sadly, the church choir at my downtown church will be plumply filled with strong voices, professionals who draw paychecks. a much different perversion of worship than entertainment — outsourcing.
    of the ministers with families?, it sucks that you are always busy when other dads and moms are off. but, contrary to what some people have been typing, the church doesn’t exist for the family. nor is there a deeper eschatological durability to what our families are (exception, those mormon notions of their destiny and eternal familial relationships). marriage is a secular, limited thing, promisary. penultimate, not ultimate. the church, however, is enduring and eschatological.
    is man for the sabbath, or the sabbath for man sorts of thinking. squirrely circles. the sabbath is not quality family time. the burnt offerings weren’t serving suggestions and the priest thought ‘it would sure be nice to have the bird spiced with some rosemary this kippur’.
    celebrating the resurrection is what we are supposed to do. if you need time off with the family, take it, but hopefully your church won’t grind to a stop if you aren’t there.
    so next year, when christmas falls on a monday, which is the traditional day off, do we all throw nice services on the weekday and decide to cancel the usual sunday service the day before?
    just so you know, i wore shorts to my mdiv convocation, often slip in late with my grande dark roast, and i don’t even bother mouthing the words of the asinine hymns with aesthetically perfect organizing. i wore a jean paul sartre t-shirt for my first sermon, and i abandonned a chaplaincy cause i was heartbroke over a dumb relationship and i ended up in ad agencies, so i’m not saying i’ve quite figured this out (though they all ended up being farily decent moves).
    being a minister isn’t about actualizing yourselves though guys. your daughter’s birthday bash can’t trump a call to the bedside of a dying man.

  • the outer...
    December 12, 2005

    Celebrating Christmas

    Megachurch bashers are at it again. This time around it has to do with Christmas services. I hadn’t noticed it earlier, but apparently the news that many of the larger churches around the country have decided not to hold any services Christmas m…

  • Janna
    December 13, 2005

    I grew up in a pastor’s home. I remember every play, every birthday and every holiday when Daddy couldn’t be home because of church stuff. My relationship with my parents is still strained, and I’m 22 years old. Being in the ministry, it is imperative that family comes first. That said, I think taking the fam to church on Christmas Sunday sends a powerful message to children- Christmas is not about the gifts, so we’re going to go celebrate Jesus first.
    Your daughter’s birthday bash should trump ministry. Because if you save the world and your daughter goes off the deep end, what have you gained?

  • jorad
    December 13, 2005

    We are a fairly large church (by Canadian standards anyways), and we decided to not run a sunday service this year on Christmas Day.
    It wasn’t easy to come to this decision, we knew that this wouldn’t sit right with some in the congreation, we knew that attendance would probably be low.
    Every year, regardless of what day it falls on we traditionally have 4 Christmas Eve services, and these are the best attended services all year.
    I agree that family should come before Church, and also that God should come before family (all of these are not exclusive – one or the other, mind you).
    For somebody who worships only one day a week, it might seem that they are being robbed of that chance since the church doors are locked, or that the pastor has a “paid” day/week off.
    For those of us who worship 7 days a week, we recognize that all we really have is a change of venue.
    Jesus preached in the temple as well as taught on the sea-shore, He ministered at funerals, and weddings, and fellowshiped with friends and family. He even worshiped alone in secret, and instructed us to do the same.
    When we stand before the Judge at the end of time, we will not be asked if we had perfect attendance every Sunday, or observed His Birth and Death on their appropriate days; He will ask if we fed the hungry, clothed the naked, encouraged the desperate, and loved our neighbor.

  • sb
    December 14, 2005

    We have a smaller congregation of 150 or so. It was in question whether or not we would have service on Christmas before it became such news fodder. We are also only 20 minutes from Willow Creek, thus our area is thrust into the limelight a little more than normal. We decided to have a celebration service instead of a traditional Sunday morning worship gathering. It will be a family service, ie:no sunday school or children’s ministries. We will have an assortment of snacks, we will sing Christmas Caroles and will hear a shortened message. Not exactly “come to Jesus” stuff, but a time where we can enjoy our family as well as our church family.
    There are plenty of people who don’t have family, or simply don’t have family in the area… I just don’t understand why the church would shut it’s doors on people like that. Also, statistically, the holiday season has the highest rating of suicides and reported depression… if we can offer them some bit of warmth and meaning on Christmas Day… then I wish we could stay open all day!
    One last thing…Several posts back, someone made the comment of “pastor’s only work one day a week anyway”… as a pastor’s wife, I have to strongly disagree. Most full time pastor’s not only work a full 40-50 hour work week at the church… but also are on 24/7 call to anyone who happens to dial them up and need them. And when a vacation day does come, you can receive the response of “why do you need time off? You only work one day a week!”. Huge sacrifices are made to their families for what they give (and I need not mention not getting much earthly inheritance in return). That all is a soapbox for another day… just had to give warning that the whole “pastor’s only work on Sundays” idea will get a pastor’s wife in your face very quickly.

  • TShafer
    December 15, 2005

    Personally, I really dislike the subtle undercurrent of many of these arguements that is saying we can only “worship” in church. I mean, really…

  • TShafer
    December 15, 2005

    And for what it’s worth, we (2000+ attendees) are not having services on Christmas, mainly because we’re trying to value both volunteer and staff families in this thing. here’s the deal:
    1. we’re portable, and it takes 20+ volunteers 2 hours to get the church set up
    2. that doesn’t take into account the hundreds of volunteers needed to actually make the sunday services happen.
    3. some peple say “why don’t you just do 1 striped-down service instead of none? you should have enough staff to do a simple guy-and-guitar service!” well…our mission is to reach people and help them walk with God. we also believe God is honored by excellence. a “stripped down” service simply could not include our children’s ministries, since they are the biggest volunteer pull, so any services we offered would be missing possibly the most important component of all. secondly, a “stripped-down” service is often (not always) code for a “half-done” service. sure, we could probably throw the pastor on stage for a bit and have our worship pastor play a couple of tunes on his acoustic, but is this excellence? is this what we feel we should be doing?
    now, if worship or access to God really required people to show up at church and stand and sing and sit and listen, we’d be doing services on Christmas. we’d be doing alot of services. but it doesn’t. at all, actually. and, of course, we wll be having services on new year’s day.

  • Rick Harris
    December 17, 2005

    What’s next, close on Easter Sunday because it’s Easter Break for schools?

  • shelly
    December 19, 2005

    well first of all Christmas is a pagan holiday not one of God’s holy days. if you type in the “truth about Christmas” in ur address bar u will find out why we shouldnt even be celebrating Christmas in the first place. Oh and Jesus’ birth it’s in spring not winter. and on top of that u know in the 10 commandments it says keep my Sabbaths, yeah it’s on Saturday people not Sunday, look it up. So u really shouldn’t be mad that your church is closed on a pagan holiday.

  • Cindy
    December 19, 2005

    Perhaps we could have such a heated dicussion on tithing as we do on Christmas and the organization of church vs the church as a body. We as modern day christians have made christianity convenient and self-serving. Observing one day a year for Christmas is no more biblical then a New testament church enforcing the 10% tithing rule. But take that to today’s pastors and we’ll really have a battle on our hands. Jesus life was 100% about serving others – not himself. His disciples were totally about serve others not themselves. If the church is to be important to us and going to church on Sundays is preached 51 other sundays in the year – are we saying we can pick & choice when we want to be christians and follow God’s word. Shame on us for giving a diluted message to the world. We are truly spoiled children of God.

  • Red rose ramblings
    December 22, 2005

    Tragic. Churches closed for Christmas

    Church Marketing Sucks: Closed for Christmas:
    “3. some peple say ‘why don’t you just do 1 stripped-down service instead of none? you should have enough staff to do a simple guy-and-guitar service!’ well…our mission is t…

  • Abbey
    December 26, 2005

    someone please show me where it says in the bible that we are suppose to go to church instead of being with our families on a holiday.
    why is the church so against each other on this? shouldnt we set an example for non believers? or should we show the world how much we can fight about something not even worth mentioning……

  • Nancy Wellinghoff
    January 9, 2006

    You are kidding, right? What could be a better way to Celebrate Christ’s birth than to go to church? I think Christmas should ALWAYS be on a Sunday. Honestly folks, get a grip.

  • Fernando's Desk
    January 12, 2006

    Churches Closed For Christmas?

    A couple of days ago this newstory was posted over on the Christian Musician Forum. It appears some megachurches are cutting back on Christmas day services, which just seems absurd to me. Brad Boydston as also been been blogging the story and commen…

  • Adam Ranck
    December 9, 2011

    The local church I’m attending is deciding not to hold a formal worship gathering on Sunday. I’m not sure of their exact reasons, but they are definitely encouraging people to be home with their families.

    I believe each local church has to decide what is best for their people individually. No group is the same, so it isn’t wise to just say everyone should do it the same way.

    Personally, I tend to lean towards not holding a formal church worship gathering. This is not because of lack of volunteers or press though. If we believe the church are the people of Christ (and not the place we meet), then we are the church at home (or where we are) as well. Our families and friends can worship God together there as they could at the normal gathering place, and that doesn’t require formal service orders, but just genuine hearts desiring to honor God and the Word of God. If we are teaching our people to live lives of worship, it should be natural for people to worship God on this day.

    I would surmise that our formal church gatherings aren’t widely attended on Sunday’s because people are at home with their families, and that is important especially now when it’s hard for people to find time for each other on a normal basis. It allows families and friends to reunite who aren’t often together, and unity is incredibly important to God. That in itself is honoring Him. And what not a fitting opportunity to teach our people that worship isn’t just “at church”, that we can hold “times of worship” at home with our families and friends and small groups, and that time together and our relationships to each other are important.

    The one thing I struggle with not having a formal church gathering is for those who don’t have family to be with during this time. Having this will help them, but it honestly may even be better for people in their local church to have these people over to their homes and celebrate Jesus/Christmas together there. It’s more personal, relational, and often more meaningful because of sharing life and building relationships. A new family member.

    However, every local church community need to make their own decision. Maybe some churches normally spend every holiday together, because they are themselves a very close family.

  • Robb
    March 28, 2014

    Christmas only falls on Sunday roughly 1/7th of the time, so it is not a particularly common phenomenon. I personally thing all Christmas church services should be on Christmas Eve so people can spend time with their families on Christmas Day, no matter which day of the week Christmas falls on.

  • Robb
    May 20, 2014

    I think the church services should me moved to Christmas Eve in years when Christmas falls on Sunday. Most of the time, Christmas falls on either a weekday so luckily there is only a 1/7 chance of this Christmas on Sunday conundrum.

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