How can you best recognize the hard work and long hours your church staff team is putting in this Christmas season?


Christmas is the most magical time of year … unless you’re on a church staff.

While we say that in jest, we also know the commitment, pressure, and long hours that come along with serving at a church during this season … and we’re here for you! 

As a former church staffer myself, I loved and (semi) loathed Christmas.

It’s such a joyous time of year, yet the responsibilities of the church staff can be quite intense at the same time.  It always felt like such an honor to help spread the message of hope, love and faith - like I was a part of this bigger “thing” to help bring people to Jesus. Plus, I enjoyed assisting others in helping the building come alive with decorations, seeing the sanctuary packed with people and participating in the timeless traditions of the church. 

Then the Christmas season would hit and by the end of it, I often felt like I had been run over by a Mac truck. Between the long hours, missing family traditions and the letdown of going back to regular attendance after all-time highs, it began to lose its luster after a few years.

Why do I bring this up? It’s because there is probably a good chance that many people on your staff are feeling the same way and we want to give you some fun ways you can celebrate your staff and/or team in the midst of all the craziness.

5 Ways to Celebrate Your Team this Christmas

1. Throw a party! 

Everyone loves free food (at Fishhook, “snacks” is one of  our unofficial values) so this can be a great way to celebrate your staff. However, we know that you’re also probably overwhelmed and don’t have time to plan this either … so don’t. Have a volunteer or lay leader assist in putting this together. One thing to keep in mind is that with December being so busy, we’d recommend doing it in November to prepare for the month ahead or in January to celebrate how it went. This way, you don’t have to work around everyone’s already jam-packed schedules.

2. Staff Appreciation Service

Dedicate a staff meeting or a portion of a church service after Christmas services to honor your staff team. Share stories of their impact, offer prayers for them and present small gifts or tokens of appreciation during this time. As we say at Fishhook, you cultivate what you celebrate! 

3. Host a Christmas Movie Day at the Church

Give your staff some rest and relaxation with a fun event during regular work hours complete with popcorn, hot chocolate, and cozy blankets. Instead of working, take a breather and show a classic holiday film instead. Spend time together laughing (or crying depending on which movie you choose - It’s a Wonderful Life can be a real tear-jerker!). To make it extra fun, you could pair this with an ugly sweater contest with fun prizes.

4. Christmas Bonuses

We realize that not every church is able to do this, but if your budget allows, provide Christmas bonuses or gift cards as a token of gratitude for your staff (and possibly lead volunteers). It's a practical way to help staff members during the holiday season and show them that you care. If you are not able to do that this budget year, consider adding it into the budget for the following years to come.

5. Time Off or Flexible Schedules

A simple way to show your staff how much you value them is by offering additional time off during the holiday season. At both of my previous churches, this meant that I got the week between Christmas and New Year off (with some exceptions due to my role). If that’s not possible for your church, you can allow staff members to have more flexible work hours during December to ensure they aren’t burning out while simultaneously giving them more quality time with their families.

Remember that the most important aspect of celebrating your church staff team is to make them feel honored and appreciated.

What might work for one church team might not work for another, so consider your staff and their needs before deciding on how you will celebrate them.

Being clear with your staff about expectations can also set your team up for success. That way no one is blindsided about hours, roles or responsibilities when it comes time to prepare and carry out Christmas Eve services. 

As you head into the Christmas planning season, we want to let you know that we are praying for you and your church. If you’re not sure where to start or need an extra hand with planning, communications needs or anything in between, we’re here for you!