Christmas Production: If You Build It, They Will Come

At our church, Community Christian Church, we usually feature the elementary age kids and the pre-K kids on different Sundays, each singing a different song each week. We advertise to the families that this is happening, and it becomes a feature portion of our Christmas series.

Christmas Production: If You Build It, They Will Come
A group of performers sing during a Christmas production at Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois.
Credit: Janine Yep

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Christmas Production: If You Build It, They Will Come

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Depending on when your church starts to celebrate, the Christmas season is only nine or 10 Sundays away.

Christmas seems to catch us church creatives by surprise, even though it shows up every year.

Take a minute to let that sink in.

Or, perhaps, use that minute and every minute from here on out to start planning and/or panicking.

Christmas seems to catch us church creatives by surprise, even though it shows up every year.

In many cases, the rituals we’ve established (or have had handed down to us) repeat yearly. When you have a whole Bible’s worth of stories, you could share over 52 weeks in lots of creative ways, it can be frustrating knowing that four to five of those weeks are spent focusing on two or three chapters from one part of the story, year after year after year. 

Now don’t get me wrong - I’m with Ricky Bobby, in that I like Baby Jesus the best. I started working at our church on the first week of December, and got a crash course in the experience that is “producing services a church at Christmas.”

Twenty years later, I’ve learned a few things, and I thought I’d take a moment to share them with you. I hope you find them helpful and perhaps might help you avoid some pitfalls that come from trying to “make all things new” in a framework of Christmas reruns.

Christmas Carols

I have to take care of this one right out of the gate. When I started working at the church, the “worship movement” was hardly a thing - we were still a year out from Delirious and David Crowder. These days, it’s very difficult to convince worship leaders to abandon the worship songs they have been leading and devote any time to the Christmas carols we all know and the attendees love.

Worship leaders and creative producers: My advice is to lead by singing the Christmas carols. Certainly, you can adjust arrangements to blend more with your overall music culture. If your series begins early enough in December, you can perhaps ease them in, or do what Crosspoint Church did a couple years ago, building medleys of current worship music with Christmas carols. But here is why it is not a good idea to dig your heels in and take a stand against “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

The Christmas season, for modern churches, creates a paradox within the attendee and even the newcomer. On one hand, they are at your church, perhaps because they long for a new and different experience from either a traditional setting or they just simply have never gone to church.


More About Eric Bramlett
Eric Bramlett has been the creative arts director for Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill., since 1996. He is responsible for overseeing large-group experiences from initial artistic vision through production at all 12 CCC locations. He also promotes creative collaboration and artist reproduction for NewThing, CCC's international church-planting mission. Eric continues to be involved in the Chicago theatre scene, as an Artistic Advisor for Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago. He hosts a church media podcast for pastors at www.bigidearesources.com/podcast, and co-authored “The Big Idea,” with Dave and Jon Ferguson. Eric lives in Naperville with his wife, Kristi, and their three children, Sadie, Dillon and Anna. To contact Eric, you can email him at ericbramlett@communitychristian.org or on Twitter @billshazzar.
Get in Touch: ericbramlett@communitychristian.org    More by Eric Bramlett

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, September-October 2017
The September-October 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a glance at a Granger Community Church, and their recent install of a Lawo audio mixing console system.


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