Church Leadership

Worship on Easter: Normal or Extravagant?

April 2, 2014, 0 Comments

With Easter Sunday approaching, church leaders are facing a question: Should we try to show off on Easter Sunday or make it a normal day of worship? We all know that there will be an additional amount of guests, visitors, prospects, family members, friends, and the like at worship on Easter. Determining what you do on that day is important.

Some leaders will choose to celebrate on Easter in a way that is not normal for most other Sundays. Because there will be lots of new people attending, they will choose to “show off” all of the programs, preach a different style of message, use their best musicians, sing the most popular songs, or even hold the service in a different location. The general theory is that you’ve got these people here for one block of time so show them why they want to keep coming back.

Other leaders will treat the Sunday as normal as possible. They will want to be “normal” on that day. With new people at the church for the morning, these leaders want to show them what worship at the church will look like every week. They want them to decide that this is the kind of church they want to be a part of each week.

Though my language is not perfect, it is the choice between showing off or being normal. Let me give seven diagnostic questions that might help you decide what to do on Easter Sunday.

Is it evident that worship is the goal of what we are doing? Worship should be obvious… especially to God. As you plan, ensure that Christ Himself would say that you exalted Him above everything else.

What is the best contextual decision? Think about who is going to show up and how you can best connect them to the message of the resurrection. Determine if it will help or hinder that you change up the worship service on Easter based on who you believe will attend. Your community might need for you to go bold at this time so they will understand just what they’ve missed out on in bypassing being in a church family.

Is it the right day to launch new ministries? Some churches take Easter as a time to launch a church-wide campaign for starting Bible study groups or a new ministry initiative. Test what you are planning against what will best connect people to the church family.

Will what we do highlight the gospel or put programming clutter around it? Our activities can sometimes put too much programmatic clutter around the message of the gospel and thus obscure it. Notice that I said “sometimes.” As you should on any Sunday, ask ahead of time about the necessity of each element in worship as to whether it highlights Christ or creates a hurdle to getting to Him.

Are we being reactive to another methodology? Leaders are fallible creatures and we should test ourselves at this point. Ensure that you are not just reacting against churches in your area that are doing the opposite of what you are doing.

Will what we do highlight us or the impact of the gospel in us? I believe it is okay to show through worship services that your church is a safe place of ministry for people in need of grace. On Easter Sunday, it is part of the story to tell but should not be the prioritized story to tell. As you plan for an extravagant or a simple experience of worship, tell how the gospel has changed us, not how just point to the idea that our church is filled with nice people.

What is the response we want to get from people? You know the old saying, “If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.” Plan your service according to what you want people to respond to and how you want them to respond.

Easter Sunday is the highest attended day of worship in my country, according to a LifeWay Research poll of pastors. I pray that we will all be wise in our decisions on how to engage people in worship as we celebrate the res

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