Despite having to make major adjustments to their normal Christmas activities, the worship and creative teams at Hope Church Danville developed new strategies this year to try to engage both their in person and online audiences.
Kelsey Bolton, worship leader and creative director at Hope Church Danville, said although the limitations are disappointing, this Christmas season still gives Christians something special to celebrate.
“Planning these events and talking about Christmas and throwing out ideas built excitement that we have something that we can still look forward to even though the year hasn’t gone as we would have planned.”
Some of the changes to the Christmas activities include modifications to their traditional candlelight service as well as coming up with brand new events all together.
The candlelight service would normally be held the Friday before Christmas, but instead the church will offer (offered) three identical services Sunday Dec. 20, featuring some of the traditional elements of that candlelight service.
The new events created specifically for this year included both online and outdoor elements. The church will be hosting (hosted) an outdoor event called S’more Christmas featuring portable fire pits and tasty desserts. The highlight of the event will be (was) the lighting of an outdoor Christmas tree featuring ornaments made by the children’s ministry.
For church members who would prefer to be involved more online, another new event for the church is a 12 days of Christmas interactive game on Facebook.
Every day a clue to a particular Christmas object or event was posted, and the first person to comment a picture of the correct object or event won a point for that day. Whoever has the most points at the end of 12 days will be rewarded with a gift basket.
According to Bolton the new ideas were well received and will most likely be repeated again next Christmas.
Bolton also had the opportunity to host several zoom meetings with other church plants that are part of the Hope Church network about creative ideas for Christmas.
Despite the success of their Christmas events, Bolton warns churches of competing with each other, and instead encourages churches to focus on being as creative as they can in their unique situation.
“I think church leaders are in a dangerous position for comparison right now because of everything being posted online,” Bolton said. “There are things that some churches are more in a position to do and things that some churches are not. But there’s always creative ways that a church can engage their church family. Don’t be afraid of failure because at this point we are all just throwing things out and seeing how they go.”
Bolton said she has learned much this year about trusting a God who never changes despite circumstances and that the Christmas season serves as a reminder of that truth.
“It’s a comfort to know that we put our faith and trust in God who is holding all things together, is always faithful and always constant.”
Written by Timothy Cockes, a freelance writer and graduate divinity student at Liberty University