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7 Christmas Eve Service Ideas That Work

Christmas eve service ideas

I’m a big fan of Christmas Eve. Attendance is generally up at all churches during the Christmas season, as even the most unchurched have a little voice nagging them to go. We’ve decided at Brookwood Church to put all our musical eggs in the Christmas Eve basket because it’s THE service of the year (along with Easter Sunday), even beyond Christmas cantatas and December Sundays, when people are most likely to darken the door of a church.

Make an effort to create a special service on Christmas Eve.

It’s hard enough to find musicians on Christmas Eve at a big church like Brookwood, but it was even more difficult to find players at the 300-member church where I was a music director several years ago (that’s why I’ve created the Christmas Eve and I Adore You Service Guides—you can pull off a beautiful service with only a capable pianist and worship leader or just use tracks.)

In the smaller church, we’d go acoustic (me on piano, acoustic guitar and bass) which was a nice vibe for the evening anyway. We rented a baby grand piano, set it in the center of the room, and had the service “in the round” to change things up (I used a synth keyboard from a small stage otherwise). Our tech guy hung a few extra, inexpensive lights to create a cozy mood, and I downloaded the prettiest worship video backgrounds I could find.

At Brookwood, I’ve discovered a few elements we do year after year that simply work.

7 Christmas Eve Service Ideas That Work

1. Instrumental praise band piece.

We always have an elaborate instrumental that allows our praise band to flex their musical muscles. In years past, we’ve done the famous “Carol of the Bells” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and last year, we premiered my “Christmas Concerto.” With all my instrumental pieces, I try to include some sparkly feature. With the Concerto, it’s the Harry Potterish celeste opening with boys’ choir. For my “Resurrection Overture” at Easter, I used bagpipes. Last year, I did a crazy Phantom of the Opera-type organ opening.

2. Children

Kids involved in our Christmas Eve Service means parents and family attend. The kids sing along with the congregation and do a special with the choir. (Watch them sing “Go Tell It on the Mountain” from our Christmas Eve service last year.)