There’s no question that 2020 and Covid-19 have changed many aspects of our lives and ministry lately. But, despite the many challenges that we’ve seen over the course of the year, Christmas is not canceled.
This holiday means so much to us as Christians as we celebrate the birth of our Savior and focus on spreading His hope to our communities. But, what does this holiday season look like for churches as we navigate a pandemic and try our best to spread hope without also spreading a virus?
After keeping a close eye on over 100 churches on Instagram and in Facebook groups, we started to pick up on some recurring themes. While these ideas certainly don’t apply to every ministry, these are the big trends we see as churches celebrate Christmas this year.
1. A Focus On Online Ministry
Since many churches have not been able to meet like normal, there have been more choosing to utilize live-streaming and online ministry than ever this year. For some, this looks like going 100% online for services, while for others it means offering their streams in addition to their reduced capacity in-person gatherings. Streaming worship services to platforms such as Facebook and YouTube has grown in popularity for reaching outsiders in places where their communities are already spending their time online. Additionally, many ministries have chosen to embrace tools like the free Church Online Platform to create virtual campuses complete with chat, sermon notes, and prayer requests. Regardless of the method, this focus on online ministry has helped churches to keep their congregations connected even if they aren’t able to attend in-person.
2. Traditional Visual Themes
Because this year has been a burden to many people, I’ve seen more and more churches moving away from the flashy, glamorous, and produced holiday looks I’ve seen in the past few years. Instead, we’ve seen traditional, calm, and homey graphics and themes being used that remind people of the comfort and pleasant Christmas memories of the past. Wood textures, candles, greenery, and warm lighting are showing up in many designs like this slide example from ChurchMotionGraphics.com
3. Gift Boxes For Church Members
In an effort to make Christmas special for their congregations, some churches have put together boxes filled with things like encouraging cards, hot cocoa, ornaments, candy, and devotionals. Because some places have moved their candlelight services to online this year, including a few candles in the box has been seen, as well. These photos show an example shared to Facebook by Teresa Jenkins from Topeka Bible Church.
4. An Emphasis On Good News
“Good News” has become a popular phrase this year as people have tried to stay positive in the midst of trying circumstances. A web show was even created by actor John Krasinski (The Office) around this premise of sharing uplifting stories to keep things bright. Since churches have the best “good news” that the world could ever hear, many ministries are using this phrase and theme to catch the attention of their communities. When it seems like all you hear is bad news, people crave something that’s good.
5. Embracing Video To Share Stories
As churches have turned their attention to ministering more online, many have discovered the power of reaching people not just in a one hour block on Sunday morning, but throughout the other 167 hours of the week. Video has been a key method on social media for sharing things like testimonies, sermon clips, worship videos, and church updates. Because many people aren’t as involved with physical services, these videos go a long way to helping them feel connected to real people in their local church.
6. A Renewed Passion For Outreach
Maybe it’s because so much time has been spent outside of the four church walls this year or simply because peoples’ needs are so much more evident right now, but there seems to be an increase in outreach. Churches are seeing the needs in their communities right now and doubling down on service projects and ministry opportunities to their neighbors. Plus, many are figuring out creative avenues to tell these stories online and reach people in new ways. We’re hoping that this is a trend that will stick around even after the pandemic.
7. More Willingness To Change
One of the most encouraging trends that I’ve noticed this season is how churches, pastors, and congregations have been willing to make the necessary changes to keep being able to worship. Many churches have had to go from 0 to 100% when it comes to online ministry. Some have completely revised their typical holiday traditions to be able to still celebrate together this year. Others have taken on new methods to spread hope this Christmas. It’s inspiring to see churches lay down their preferences to ensure that the Gospel is preached and Christ’s love is shown.
What Do You Think?
Are you seeing any of these trends? Are you embracing any of these ideas in your own church? What else is popular this year? Let us know by leaving a comment down below!