Ministry survival tips for Advent and Christmas

Nov 9, 2018 7:00:00 AM / by Deb Hetherington


Ministry leaders have an important and particular responsibility – and yes, challenge – to help members (and themselves) focus and wait during Advent before celebrating and telling about the birth of a Savior at Christmas.

Whether you are a rookie facing your first December in ministry, an experienced volunteer attempting to better balance hours spent between church and home, or a seasoned leader whose family and friends may or may not yet appreciate your efforts (and sacrifices), we’ve got three survival tips to support you – and your ministry – this Advent and Christmas! 

Survival tip #1: Challenge tradition

December is a month full of traditions – and high expectations of time, energy, and expense – at church and home.

If your list causes you stress or guilt, try to challenge traditions starting in small ways.

Ask your family members to identify one or two favorites by completing the phrase, “it wouldn’t be Christmas without __________.” 

Focus your time and energy at home on those most desired traditions. Get the tree up and decorated, but leave some decorations in the box, or let someone else put the lights on.  

Survival tip #2: Draw healthy boundaries


Some tasks on your December lists at church and home can truly only be done by you – like writing your sermon or attending your child’s concert at school.

Draw healthy boundaries around the tasks only you can do by prioritizing and protecting the time and energy you need to do them.

While you may like doing other tasks on your list, think about which ones might be done by others (kids and adults) and ask for help to get them done.

Give yourself permission to not feel responsible to do everything you may have done in the past. You may even end up allowing someone else a new opportunity to share their gifts!

Survival tip #3: Communicate your choices

While family and friends may feel that your priorities during December are unfairly skewed to your work at church, congregants are looking to you as a role model of what practicing faith through Advent and Christmas looks like.

Communicate your choices to help manage others’ expectations – and relieve potential self-inflicted guilt. Remind those who care about you that there are 12 days of Christmas and not everything needs to happen the week before December 25. Ask for their patience, grace, and support. They may never understand your commitment to your work at church or the choices you make, but they will appreciate your efforts.


Interested in learning more? Check out our FREE webinar with more tips for ministry leaders for this Advent and Christmas season!


Topics: Events and Holidays

Deb Hetherington

Written by Deb Hetherington

Deb is passionate about supporting faith formation for all of God’s children from babies to adults, at church and at home. At Sparkhouse, she has worked on early childhood, story Bibles, Sunday school, music, devotional, and Vacation Bible School products for kids, leaders, and families. She feels blessed to now sing and play with kids as a volunteer in her congregation and on mission trips to Haiti.


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