Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year. The time where things speed up and you don’t feel like you have enough time to do everything that you want or that is expected of you. The time where there is so much going on, you forget to do certain simple tasks that will make your life, and the life of everyone in the church, a little easier. At least this is what happens to me. So, I’ve put together a list of things I plan to do a week or two, and some of them a month or two, before our BIG Christmas service so that I can ensure that everything will go smoothly and as planned. Of course, there can always be surprises even though you think you planned for everything that could go wrong, but hopefully, this list will help you eliminate those surprises.
1. Pray 🙏🏻
In 1 Thessalonians 5, we’re told to “pray without ceasing”. Begin to pray that your Christmas service will go as planned and that it will impact the lives of everyone there or watching and listening remotely. Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you in everything you do for your Christmas service and that He takes control and that no matter what happens, hearts will turn to Jesus and lives will be changed. First, focus on what God wants to be accomplished through this time and then focus on doing what you can do to make that happen.
2. Check your attitude ❤️
It also tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5 to “rejoice always” and “give thanks in everything”. This is a reminder for me as much as anyone else. The stress of the holiday season can be overwhelming sometimes and the demands put on a church leader can feel overbearing at times as well. So make sure to hold your tongue and only speak positively. Give criticism and/or direction when needed, but do it in love. Also, don’t forget to always thank those who help in any way. (Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re not designed to do it all on your own.)
3. Computer Hardware 💻
At least 2 weeks before your Christmas service, but not more than 4-6 weeks before, check your computer hardware. Check for driver updates and install critical updates. If you have an internet connection to that computer, turn off the auto-updates until after Christmas so your computer doesn’t try to update without your knowledge the night before your service. Make sure all cables are securely plugged into the back of the computer and into the monitors.
If you feel the need and it’s in your budget, get a backup computer that you can plug in quickly in case your primary computer dies or has an issue you can’t resolve. Install all needed software and drivers you will need just like it is your primary computer. If you already have a backup computer, do the same. Treat it like your primary computer and make sure all updates and patches and software are installed just in case you need to use it.
4. Software 📀
If you’re using projection software, whether it’s EasyWorship or something else, install any updates you need for it at least 2 weeks before the Christmas service. Software companies shouldn’t release any updates that close to a major service like that, so you will probably be ok and not have an issue with that. However, you may have updates from 6 months ago still that should be installed. There is a possibility that the program could prompt you to update an hour before your service starts, so make sure you already have the newest update installed. This will give you at lease a couple of weeks to see if you have any issues with it. If so, you can contact support and get them fixed in time.
5. Projector / TV 📽 📺
There’s not a lot you can do about a TV if something goes wrong with it, but just make sure it is working properly and that it’s on the correct input. If you’re going through a splitter or switcher, double-check the cable connections to be sure they are plugged in tight.
If you’re using a projector, check the life of the bulb. If it’s close to the time to replace it, you may want to go ahead and replace it before Christmas. Even if it still has a few hours left, a new bulb will be brighter and will show your videos and backgrounds much more clearly. Also, check the cables and input on the projector to be sure everything is secure and set properly. (You never know, someone could have sat on the remote.)
6. Soundboard / Mixer 🎚️ 🎛️
This is pretty much a standard check every week to make sure all channels are working and sound is directed to the correct places. But, you can also check the channel and volume for the computer. Many churches will play more videos during their Christmas service than they do all year, so if that’s you, check the audio cable from the computer to the soundboard and that the volume is working.
7. Batteries 🔋
There are many devices that can take batteries. I was going to try and separate each device into separate items on this list, but there are too many. The morning of your service, walk around your church and replace the batteries in every device that uses them. Also, have extra batteries on hand in case you missed something or if something drains batteries too quickly. Some of the main devices would be; wireless mics, (don’t forget the pastor’s lavalier mic), in-ear-monitor packs, foot pedals, and guitars. If you have other devices, replace the batteries in those as well. If some of these devices use rechargeable batteries, like wireless mics, double-check that the batteries are being charged before you get to the church for your service.
8. Media / Lights 🎞️ 💡
There is a ton of Christmas media available on the EasyWorship Media Store, so start looking now to find all that you need for your service. There’s everything from stills to motions to sermon videos to welcome and goodbye videos. Don’t wait till the last minute to get all your media. If you have a lighting system, match the lighting with the song backgrounds you’re using. This will be more pleasing to the eye and be less of a distraction.
9. Volunteers / Tech Team 👥
Get the schedule ready for who will be working in the sound/AV booth ahead of time. This is a time where people travel to see family. Make sure you also have backup people in case someone calls in sick. You don’t want to be left without anyone running the sound, lighting or presentation software.
10. Instruments 🎸 🥁 🎹
Tune your instruments. Replace the strings on your guitars. Have an extra set of drumsticks for the drummer.
The Christmas Eve and Christmas services are usually packed with visitors, so reaching them visually is an important part of your service. You will probably need to spend more time than usual with EasyWorship getting it set up, so plan that extra time and use it to get everything right. Go through it a few times to make sure all spelling is correct and you have all the media in the right places.
12. Relax! 😊 🛀
Planning ahead and working through this list in a timely manner will help make your Christmas services a breeze. You can relax just before the service knowing you’ve done everything you can to make everything run smoothly.
These are the primary items I run through when getting my church ready for Christmas, and I start with some of them a month or two ahead of time. You may find that you have more things you need to check than what I have on this list and that’s ok. Make a full list for yourself and stay on top of it. Don’t let your Christmas service creep up on you and stress you out! Take control and plan ahead. Be the tech hero this year and make it the best Christmas ever!