At Christmas we hit the brakes with our student ministry. We give everyone three solid weeks off. No midweek Bible studies, no big events, no New Year's lock-in, no small groups. Nothing.
Personally, I have never been a fan of cramming more events into the Christmas season for our students and their families. It is already busy enough. Christmas concerts, work parties, traveling, family shindigs, exams, longer work schedules, shopping trips...do I need to go on?
I also believe that the break is healthy for us, and here are the main reasons:
It allows our leaders to rest.Our leadership team works their collective butts off week in and week out. They show up early, they stay late. They lead small groups. They go for coffee. And this is all in the midst of their own lives of classes, homework, jobs and relationships. One way I can say I'm thankful for them is to give them some time off.
It builds excitement for the new year.Isn't there a saying that "absence makes the heart grow fonder?"It's a lot like summer vacation when you were in school. You were always happy to have a break, but usually at some point you actually looked forward to getting back to school so you could be around all your friends again. Our break gives us all that more excitement when the New Year finally lands. Instead of being in a rut from routine, we are looking forward to being together again.It gives me more time.Believe it or not, I gain from this too. And I'm not ashamed to admit it. I get a few more office hours to get ahead on planning for the upcoming year. I have space to grab coffee and lunch with people. And I get a few extra nights at home with my family. It's not like I'm overworked with my hours. My church has been great about that. But it's still a nice change of pace to be able to be home for a Monday or Wednesday evening.
(I imagine I'll get an email about it this year now that I've written this...)