Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. If you didn’t know, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. That means it’s going to be tough to get volunteers, lots of your regulars will be out of town, and much of the church staff will only be part of the service begrudgingly.

A lot of churches are cancelling Sunday services and opting for Christmas Eve and services on the Friday before. That’s a great option. But you’ll still have those members of your congregation who want to worship on Christmas day. So what do you do?

I’d like to propose an idea that will let you take Christmas Sunday (or even New Years Day, also on a Sunday) off while still providing a service option for your church. Why not make a digital Christmas service?

You could stream services live online if you want to be able to reach people remotely, but that requires the people attending digitally to schedule their day around the start times of your digital Christmas services. Much easier, you could just record the video and leave it on Vimeo for people to watch when it makes sense for them.

The cool thing about a digital service like this is that you can still provide a service for your church but also give them an opportunity to give financially – a concern many churches have when cancelling a service. Embed the video on a page of your website and include giving links or even response links for those who might want prayer or to get further involved in 2017.

Of course, a straight one-hour service might not get too many views on Christmas Sunday. So I recommend a few format changes to your service to make it easy to digest for your church and allow them to incorporate it into their Christmas morning (or Christmas Eve gathering).

Make it Short

Instead of going for a full hour, shoot for a twenty minute video. Twenty minutes is about how long a turkey needs to rest before it’s carved, so that time slot makes it easy for families to watch after the bird comes out of the oven. Fortunately, with video editing, you can easily trim unnecessary transitions and make it a power-packed, short video.

Shoot for a twenty minute video. Twenty minutes is about how long a turkey needs to rest before it’s carved.

Make it Fun

You could easily make the service more like a TV program than a traditional church service. Do a fun rendition of a Christmas song (like this) or encourage kids to act out the Christmas story (with these) while you read it. Participation should be light and easy, knowing that many people might not get into deep worship experiences if they’re watching with their family.

Make it Evangelistic

This is the best opportunity with a digital service like this. Make your video evangelistic. Many of your congregation members will be hosting unsaved family and friends over the holidays. Make this an opportunity to help your members witness. Present the simplicity of the gospel but also include ideas that will invite discussion. You never know what kinds of conversations you can encourage around the Christmas table.

Many of your congregation members will be hosting unsaved family and friends over the holidays.

Again, this type of service works great for Christmas or New Years. You might even want to promote it on social media and see who else you reach. You never know, your next member might be looking for a short video on Christmas morning and this might be your way to reach them.

Have you tried something like this at your church before? What are some of the best practices you learned? Share in a comment below.