Do’s and Don’ts: Christmas service planning
We asked the Musicademy Worship Community (our new Facebook Group) for their tips on Christmas planning and were blown away by a response from Christopher Phillimore that listed some super useful Do’s and Don’ts. We couldn’t agree more with his suggestions.
Here is Christopher’s list:
- DO plan in advance and lock everything down in good time with the leadership.
- DO give more than usual time to practice and rehearsal since the songs are infrequently done and not as automatic as the regular repertoire.
- DO try to give visitors a flavour of what they’d get if they came on a Sunday. If you’re a band led church use the band. If you’re an organ and choir church use organ and choir. If you have a mix, use both. Also works for the regulars!
- DO choose well known carols that suit a worship band arrangement not the carols that have a chord change every note (O Little Town, Once in Royal)
- DO use an organ for some carols if you have a good instrument and good organist. Consider arrangements which blend band and organ. For example, start It came upon a midnight clear with very light acoustic band sound and organ barely perceptible to start and then build band and organ through the verses until the organ’s power bursts through by the end and the band are barely perceptible!
- DO consider it OK to do a band only song with congregation seated – its kind of the modern equivalent of choir anthem.
But needs to be lyrically rich or powerful and story telling.
Something like Thorns in the Straw (Graham Kendrick) works well.
- DON’T be afraid to string together back to back carols – there doesn’t have to be a reading between every song.
- DON’T use unfamiliar Christmas related or tenuously connected songs or alternate lyrics to non-Christmas songs.
They tend to disengage the worshippers.
- DON’T use word sheets if you have screens. Get people looking up.
Christopher also said: Read More