Why did we move our worship service for Christmas?

After a lot of discussion with the advisory team, we have decided to move our worship service from Sunday (Christmas morning) to Saturday (Christmas Eve).  When we announced this at our church service last week, most people appreciated it as few were planning on attending if we did have service on Christmas day.  However, one faithful brother was concerned that we were rescheduling.  He asked some very good questions about what rescheduling our service communicates.  Are we prioritizing being with family over gathering as a church?  Is the worship of Christ taking a back seat to celebrating holiday traditions?

I really appreciated this man’s desire to meet with me and discuss these things.  First, because it showed that he cared about our church.  He was actually planning on coming back from his family’s out of state Christmas gathering to be here for the service.  Second, it showed that he cared about me.  Instead of just judging this decision in his heart, stewing over it, or worse yet spouting off his displeasure to whomever would hear, he asked to meet with me.  He didn’t start with offering his opinion, but asking questions about how this decision was made.  Throughout our conversation he modelled humility, love and respect for me, and a desire to truly understand.   Even though we ended up not agreeing, I left the conversation with greater appreciation for this brother, because of how he went about things.  This is what healthy, gospel saturated conversation should look like.

I think his questions are really good though, so I want to give a public answer to them.  The reason that we have decided to reschedule our church service is not in any way meant to communicate a deprioritizing of our gathering, but rather the priority of it.  The reality is that as I asked various members who would be present on Christmas day, the vast majority of them said they would not be able to attend.  This included all of the key leaders we need to facilitate our Sunday service.  If we met there would be no worship ministry, no children’s ministry and no prayer ministry.  Plus most of the congregation would not be present.  Therefore, because we do value the priority of gathering as a church, we believe that this should be done at a time when the church can actually gather.  We don’t want to just throw something together for Christmas and meet on Sunday, because that is our routine.  We want to keep our weekly gathering the highlight of our life together as a church.  To always put our best foot forward and treat each gathering like the eternally significant thing that it is.  So we feel that the best way to do that is to encourage everyone to attend our Christmas Eve service as our weekly gathering.

I hope this explanation is helpful to you.  In retrospect, I think my initial announcement where I joked about being in my pjs was unhelpful and did not adequately explain the careful thought that did go into this decision.  

May we all be like this godly brother and prioritize our weekly gathering as well as having healthy conversations with one another.

Love you Christ Church!

Pastor Jeff

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