By The Rev’d Michael Calder: A simple carols service is one of the most effective ways to share the Good News of Christmas with a range of people from both inside and outside the church. Incredibly, almost everyone (even secretly) loves coming along to sing carols! Despite living in an era in which fewer people identify as Christians, it is amazing that still so many are delighted to join in and sing perhaps the highest christology that would ever pass our lips! It’s also an opportunity to be less formal and more accessible – an important ‘entry point’ for people who may have never been to a church before.

Doing a carols service while under COVID-19 restrictions presented new challenges this year but none that cannot be overcome! At St Bart’s in 2020, we did a 1 hour ‘hybrid’ service with people joining both in-person and online. As part of the actual service we sung carols, had a kids’ talk, a short Christmas message, and we added more video elements (see below for the full service).

For those joining in-person, people needed to register beforehand, were warmly welcomed at the door, checked-in, and ushered to their seats.

For those joining online, the experience was slightly different. We really wanted to use this element as a missional opportunity and so we invited people to host a CAROLS Party! It would be the easiest invite to a Christmas service ever. This consisted of four steps:

  1. REGISTER the house party so we could know who was joining and prepare a party pack.

  2. RECEIVE the party pack containing glowsticks, recipes, kids’ activities, props, and other fun surprises (all linked below).

  3. INVITE friends and family to join in their house party for the livestream right from their home.

  4. WATCH the carols all together on the evening.

All the resources are linked below. Feel free to download them and use them in your own Christmas service!


Party pack resources

Video elements

Kids nativity

Christmas reading

Musical item

Video interview with Chris

Prayer for carols 2020

Full service

First published on the St Bart’s, Toowoomba blog on 14 December 2020.

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