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3 resources for planning Christmas worship

Live Nativity

File photo.

Christmas services hold some of our most treasured spiritual memories. Think back to a Christmas Eve candlelight service. You likely can still smell the candles and hear the hymns that were sung together.

Yet, this year we may not be able to celebrate in these same ways. So how do church leaders imaginatively translate Christmas to in-home and virtual environments or plan for a combination to meet the needs of your church community?

Please know that we are here to support you in whatever way we can. Here are three resources for you.

1. Ideas to help you think out-of-the-box

Living Nativity: Re-create scenes from the story of Jesus’ birth. Modify the walk-through experience into a drive-through experience. Guests can drive through in their own cars, while listening to the narration on an FM transmitter, or record your narration and make a playlist on Spotify, in the comfort of their own vehicle. Here is an example of possible scenes or stops: scene 1: Caesar Augustus; scene 2: Mary, Joseph, and the donkey; scene 3: innkeepers; scene 4: angels; scene 5: shepherds; scene 6: wise men; and scene 7: the entire Nativity. View a potential script from Discipleship Ministries.

Luminary service: Bundle up and light up the parking lot, park, neighborhood, or sidewalk. Worship Design Studio and The Center for Congregational Song have teamed up to create FREE materials to assist you in "filling the night with music and light!" With singing in church worship spaces hindered by the Coronavirus, we are turning to caroling as a way to offer opportunities for people to sing their hearts out safely, taking it outside and safely distanced! Join with churches and organizations all over to offer light and music... and hope this year! Access resources here.

Journey through Bethlehem: Christmas worship is often a time when visitors come to your church. This year invite the entire community to hear the story of Jesus’s birth. Create scenes throughout your community that are still murals with QR codes or recorded narration on Spotify. Invite the community to go on the journey and visit each scene. The last stop could be your church parking lot. Another option would be to rent a very big indoor space and place the scenes throughout the space, have people stop by each scene and listen to the journey. Take a look at this guide or script and adapt it to fit your context.

Add a drive-through communion experience: Do you want to add communion to part of your Christmas celebration? Have people stay in their cars, drive to a designated stop where, staff or volunteers hand pre-packaged Communion elements in a plastic bag through the car window; then they drive to the next stop where pastor leads a brief communion liturgy, and then move onto to the third stop for a blessing and prayer by staff or volunteers. Take a look at the instructions from one church.   


2. Networking to help you brainstorm, connect, and share


Join us for a Zoom session; all clergy and worship leaders are welcome. This will be a 30-45-minute session, led by clergy for clergy and worship leaders. Ideas will be shared and small groups will connect to brainstorm, share resources, and refine ideas. We have two times scheduled but will gladly set up more sessions as needed or wanted.

  • Christmas worship planning networking session one: Tuesday, November 3rd, 8 a.m. MST, 9 a.m. CST. Join the session
  • Christmas worship planning networking session two: Wednesday, November 4th, 11 a.m. MST, 12 p.m. CST. Join the session



3. Online service Sunday, December 27

Worship Online

The Dakotas Conference is planning a full online worship service for your use for the Sunday after Christmas, December 27, 2020. This will be a chance to take a breath and enjoy time with your family.


Dakotas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church 605.996.6552 Love Lenten Study Slider_3.jpg 1331 University Ave. Mitchell SD 57301-0460 US 43.69689310 -98.03291320 122 W. Franklin Avenue Ste 400 Minneapolis MN 55404 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 W University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000