December 22, 2010 Tony Morgan

Why offer tickets for Christmas Eve services?

The question has popped up again related to tickets for Christmas Eve, so I thought I’d take a moment to address it. Leaders from other churches are always curious to know why churches including West Ridge offer tickets for these services. I’m sure there are a number of advantages, but here are the first that pop to mind…

  • It helps us make sure we have seats for everyone to invite their friends and family. Crowds are bigger at Christmas, and folks tend to have preferred service times. If everyone showed up at the same time, we wouldn’t have room. It doesn’t make sense to build bigger buildings to accommodate holiday crowds. Instead, we use tickets to spread out people in in multiple services.
  • It helps us determine when we need to offer more services. If multiple services fill up, we have the flexibility to add additional services to accommodate more people.
  • It makes it easier for people to invite their friends. The number one reason people show up to a worship service for the first time is because a friend invites them. Having a ticket with all the details on it makes it easier for people to have those conversations. It also gives the impression they’re offering something with value.
  • It communicates something special is going to happen. We are very intentional about our service programming every Sunday of the year, but certainly we give special attention to Christmas Eve services. Having caught wind of some of the elements in this year’s services, I know they going to be an incredible experiences. Having tickets helps us communicate something unique is going to take place.
  • It communicates these services are open to the entire community. This may seem obvious to church insiders, but people outside our churches sometimes don’t realize we expect guests. In fact, there are a large percentage of folks that would join us for a service, but they are just waiting for someone to invite them. Offering tickets helps us get the word out that everyone is invited.

By the way, the reason why I personally advocate this is because I’ve seen it work at all three churches I’ve been connected with in the past.  When we implemented this at West Ridge last year, we eliminated all the expenses we used to incur for direct marketing our Christmas Eve services (we saved money) and our attendance for the services jumped by almost 70%.

Ultimately, more people at Christmas Eve services mean more people hearing the message and more changed lives. We’re pretty committed to life change here at West Ridge, so we see that as a good thing.

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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

Comments (4)

  1. Tony, I’m curious how many you give out and what your expectation is on the return. Do you give 100% of the seats available tickets or a different number? Also, what percentage of the tickets that you give out actually come back? Is there an number that can be expected or is it a complete guess for every group of people?

    I really appreciate this blog. It along with others has encouraged and challenged me. Now I’m trying to help do the same for others. Thanks for inspiring people!

  2. Tony Morgan

    You’ll typically be safe to plan on a 25% no show rate. But, as you hinted, it’s probably going to differ based on your culture. Start there and tweak it based on your experience.

  3. Dave

    At Hope Community in Raleigh, we give out 30% above capacity and rarely have to go to overflow rooms. I was very nervous about that the first time we did it, but it’s worked great.

  4. Mitch Nelson

    Great post Tony. It answers most of my questions. We do invite cards and encourage people to take them, but I see the benefits of it.

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