3 Steps To Post-Mortem Your Christmas Services (And Make the Next Year Better)

3 Steps To Post-Mortem Your Christmas Services  

(And Make the Next Year Better)

Post Holiday: It’s time for some R&R (rest and reflection). Now is a fantastic time to review your Christmas season and take some notes on what worked, what didn’t, what you can improve on, and what you can simplify. 

Below are three simple steps: for each step, set a timer for no more than 15 minutes. Even 10 minutes should give you enough time.  

  1. List the wins. 

  • What went well? What was good about your Christmas season services? 
  • What was life-giving? 
  • What do you want to do again next year?
  1. List the misses and “meh’s”. 

  • What tanked? 
  • What things just didn’t go like you wanted, or were “meh”? 
  • What would you NOT do again if given a mulligan?
  1. List the costs. What did this season cost in terms of… 

  • Your stress levels? 
  • Your emotional & physical health? 
  • Time away from your family? 
  • Demands on your volunteer’s time (techs, platform team, etc.)? 
  • Missed opportunities? 
  • Your church’s finances? 


As you look at your answers, write or record your reactions and thoughts about this 3-part list and note a few takeaways that you can revisit when you start planning next Christmas. And whatever you come up with, definitely talk about these with your senior pastor and other staff. 

Maybe overall this Christmas was positive and you’re coming out of it feeling good! 

Or maybe you’re feeling some burnout. 

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of “less is more” for the holidays — Christmas and Easter. But you might be the kind of person (or at the kind of church) into a huge level of production. And if big productions are your church’s thing and you love it, keep after it! 

But if you’re looking at what this Christmas season cost you, your family, your team, and your church — and you’re not sure it was worth it — take 3 minutes and read our blog: 

The Dos & Don’ts For Less-Stress And More Engaging Advent Services


You’ll likely find some things to add to your list for next year’s Christmas. 

If you read this article and do the 3-step Advent audit, your future self will thank you! 

 Reviewing your Previous Year 

Now let’s talk about reviewing the previous year as a whole.  

Ask yourself: 

  • How many Sundays did I take off?  
  • How many Sundays did my team members take off?  
  • Am I really helping my team members grow musically, spiritually, and relationally? 


At WorshipTeamCoach.com, we firmly believe that worship leaders should take at least 3 Sundays off a year, but preferably 9 Sundays a year, which is about 1 Sunday off every 6 weeks. However, there are different types of Sundays off.


 Here’s an excerpt from Jon Nicol’s Exceptional Every Sunday book about the 3 types of Time Off that worship leaders should take: 

“Away” Sundays 

This is when you’re absent from the Sunday service because you’re on vacation, going to a conference, on a getaway with your spouse, etc. It’s that typical time off that most worship leaders think of. 

But the next two are even more critical than this.  


“Off-Platform” Sundays 

This is when you’re not away, but you’re also not leading. You can actually worship with your family. (Whoa… your spouse probably wouldn’t know what to do with you sitting there!) 

These “Sundays off” are critical not just for your emotional health but for your family (they miss you), your team (you need to model healthy time off the platform for them, too) and your leaders (they need chances to grow and not feel like they’re just substitute leaders). 

At times, these ‘Off-Platform Sundays’ will allow you to spend time in the production booth encouraging and learning from your techs. 

If your church runs multiple services, take advantage of that. For example, worship with your family during one service, and hang with your techs during the next. And bring donuts. Your techs will appreciate it. 


Finally, the third ‘Sunday Off’ might be something you only do a few times a year, but it’s critical for your emotional and spiritual health.

“Sabbath” Sundays 

This is when you don’t go to church…anywhere. 

Leading worship is your job (whether you get paid for it or not). Even if you go to another church, you know you’ll slip into note-taking and comparison mode, right? That’s not real rest. 

Imagine if you were able to do this: 

  • Sleep in on a Sunday. 
  • Get up and enjoy your morning coffee. 
  • Stay in your PJs till lunch. 
  • Go on a hike. 

Whatever is personally restorative for you, do it. 






(I promise you’ll be able to find God somewhere else on Sunday morning other than a church building.)  

A Side Note 

Those of us who have grown up in the church can have a complicated relationship with Sunday worship attendance. For some, taking this ‘Sabbath’ Sunday can feel sinful. Or at least guilt-inducing. 

But that’s exactly why you need it. 

I know I’m opening up a big can of worms, but it’s critical. And not enough people are telling worship pastors and church leaders this. You need a few Sundays a year where no one expects ANYTHING of you. 

God will NOT be angry. Or disappointed. 

Some people in your church might be disappointed or even angry. But remember, Jesus got flack for this. And what did he say to them? 

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) 

Time Off is Important

Clearly, time off is important, not just for us, but also for our team members. 


Also, here’s a free copy of our Season Recap & Review Form. You can customize your own form by using these questions with your team to start the next worship season on the right foot.  


This article was originally published in Worship Musician Magazine, January 2024 issue and has been modified from the original. 

Matt Miller