Church Christmas Plays: Pros & Cons
by Jessica Williams
Wow! What a title for a blog, right?! I know what many of you must be thinking…Cons of a Christmas play?! How un-Christlike! Churches always have Christmas plays! Our entire faith is built on the birth of Jesus coming into the world to save us from our sins! True. God sent Jesus into the world to die for our sins. But let me give a few thoughts on the pros and cons of Christmas plays, and later, offer a couple of solutions for how the story can also be communicated to your church.
3 Benefits to Having a Christmas Play—
1. Telling the Story of Jesus’ Birth is Central to our Faith. You can’t be a believer without knowing God’s plan for redemption.
2. It Can Bring People to Church Who Wouldn’t Normally Come. Family members who have communicated to you that your church “isn’t right” for them will be much more prone to come if they have a relative who plays a part in your church’s Christmas production.
3. Congregants Need to be Reminded of the Christmas Story. Throughout the year, we’re taught in church about how to increase our faith and be more Christ-like. But we all need an annual reminder (at least) of God’s plan of salvation through the birth of Jesus.
3 Disadvantages to Having a Christmas Play—
1. It Can be Draining on Your Volunteers. We often take for granted those who regularly volunteer for a normal Sunday production: the worship team members, the sound engineer, the video team…the list goes on. And when there’s a special production like a Christmas play, often we have to recruit even more volunteers. Christmas plays often require additional (and lengthy) rehearsals over the course of several weeks. And as church leaders, we have to remember that this is Christmas season for your volunteers, too. Don’t let this production be the source of volunteer burnout.
2. Christmas Plays Can Shine a Spotlight on a Church’s Weaknesses. Most churches don’t have the luxury of auditioning dozens of congregants who are professional actors, stage hands, lighting engineers, set designers, etc. So having a cast of people who are operating outside of their area of expertise can really make your church look awkward and clumsy…especially to your C&E (Christmas and Easter) parishioners. Is this really the impression we want to give to visitors (or as ICWC refers to them, Potential Members and Partners)?
3. It Can Come Off as a Bad Elementary School Play. We’ve all been there. We obligated ourselves to go to our nephew’s 4th grade school play and we spend the next 60-90 minutes dreading every minute of it. Oh, it may be cute for the first five minutes, but then it becomes a chore to endure until the final curtain. You may be surprised how many of your regular members intentionally skip church on the Sunday of the Christmas play.
So What’s The Solution?
First off, I believe that the story of—and the reason for—Jesus’ birth must be told, plain and simple. But, for most churches, their strengths are good preaching and good praise and worship. So why can’t we tell the story using our strengths? Your church’s worship team can sing season-appropriate songs, and telling a good message from the pulpit about the truth of Jesus’ birth can bring the story home! And let’s face it, an altar call for visitors would be much more natural after this scenario, than after a play.
If you’re still not sold, there are several professionally-produced videos that can be shown during your Christmas worship service, and take pressure off of both volunteers and a Pastor during the busy Christmas season. All it takes is a little research. (If you know of a Christmas story video that you believe would be of benefit to churches considering a new approach, please share in the comments section below.)
So don’t get me wrong. If your church puts on a great Christmas play (without draining your volunteers), then go for it. But if there are other resources at your disposal that can get the same message across, maybe it’s time to consider something new.
If your church needs help, contact ICWC today…
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