Holiday Service Safety Considerations

Christmas services are among the highest-attended services of the year, presenting an exciting opportunity to celebrate and worship with a larger audience. You’ll want to make safety a top priority if you're expecting an increased number of services and attendees this holiday season. Here are some pointers to help you plan for your large gathering.

Review your safety plan. Take a moment to revisit the safety plan you have established for your church. Review all procedures with your staff and volunteers to make sure that they know how to respond in the event of an emergency.

Determine logistics. With so many people in attendance, it's especially important to make sure that you have a game plan for the day — and that this plan is clearly communicated to staff and volunteers. Here are some details to consider:

  • Will you allow people to roam the facility or will you close off certain parts (e.g., church offices, classrooms, the gym or cafeteria)?
  • What time will the services start?
  • When will you start letting people in?
  • Which doors will you allow people to enter through?
  • Do you have enough seating and supplies (bulletins, candles, etc.) available?

Tip – It’s a good idea to have extra greeters and ushers available to assist people, since more nonmembers and out-of-town guests will be in attendance and may need more guidance and assistance.

Know your maximum occupancy. Going over this number can make for a squished, uncomfortable service — and create a safety risk in the event of an emergency.

Tip – Consider setting up overflow seating in a gym or fellowship hall with live video feeds of the services on TVs or projectors. This will allow more people to attend your service without it creating a safety risk.

Avoid slips and falls. There’s something special about a white Christmas, but you’ll want to be extra careful to limit slippery surfaces. Clear walking surfaces of snow and ice, and increase traction indoors by placing sturdy mats and runners at entrances.

Decorate with care.  Make sure that trees, manger scenes and other decorations do not block exit routes.

Step up security. Increased attendance also increases the potential threat of crime and violence, so make sure appropriate security measures are in place. Check out our post 4 Ways to Step Up Security at Holiday Events for ideas on how to do that.

Safely bask in the glow. The tips in this post will help ensure your candlelight service remains peaceful, not perilous.

Filed under Religious Organizations
Lindsay Kline

Lindsay Kline

Marketing Strategy Specialist

Lindsay Kline is a Marketing Strategy Specialist for GuideOne Insurance, focusing on religious organization, nonprofit, education and workers’ compensation marketing tactics.

In her free time, she enjoys dancing, running and spending time with friends and family.

© 2022 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.