Every Christmas Eve, something odd happens in thousands of American communities. Men go to church.

And the next week they disappear, not to be seen again until Easter. Or possibly on Mother’s Day, if enough pressure and guilt can be applied.

Most Sundays, males comprise just 39% the adult population in a typical congregation. But on Christmas Eve, the guys return – hesitantly, hands-in-pockets, making their annual nod to organized religion – often dragged by wives and mothers.

When it comes to reaching men, Christmas Eve services are the Super Bowl of the church calendar. Congregations have an opportunity to impact these men if they plan their services accordingly.

  • Present Christ the man rather than Christ the infant.
  • Focus teaching on Christ’s power and mission, rather than his meekness and gentleness.
  • Keep the sermon brief. No more than 20 minutes. Tell a great story.
  • Feature laymen up front.
  • Sing familiar Christmas carols that men know and love (in a key the baritones can sing).
  • Talk about adventurous, dangerous missions. Tell the story of a martyr.
  • Promote your upcoming events for men.
  • Employ masculine imagery and language.
  • Play a video clip from an action film as a metaphor.
  • Keep things professional, rather than homespun.
  • Plan a January sermon series that would interest men. Promote it on Christmas Eve.

Big mistake: Many churches build their Christmas Eve services around adorable little children dressed as angels. This communicates a powerful message to men: Church is for kids. I’m not saying that a little Christmas cuteness will drive men out the door, but don’t overdo it.

Jesus said, “I will make you fishers of men.” The holiday tides wash in large numbers of men who are strangers to God. Make sure your church services are relevant to these men if you want to see them again throughout the year.