It’s Easter Week!
For the Christian, this is the best of all holidays. While Christmas and the coming of Christ is wonderful, and Thanksgiving and taking time for to give thanks, and spend time with family is terrific, none of it matters without Easter. Even Good Friday, and Jesus’ death on the cross are meaningless if didn’t rise from the dead. Easter has historically also been a time when people are more likely than any other time to attend church, so churches tend to plan and schedule accordingly.
With all that in mind, here’s a few random thoughts on leading worship Easter weekend from RealWorldWorship.Org:
THERE IS NOTHING SPIRITUAL ABOUT DOING NOTHING
Some churches, in a knee jerk reaction to the “big rock show” churches have started to swing the other way on the pendulum. While some churches are giving away iPad’s, these churches are doing nothing. They may have a few Easter Lilly’s on stage or a brief mention in the opening and closing prayers about Easter, but that’s it. The idea is that with all these churches “going commercial” or “watering down the message” to get people in the seats, we’re not going to do anything that we don’t normally do.
While I appreciate the desire to not be caught up in “hype” or to commercialize the church, I see nothing holy or spiritual in not capitalizing on any valid chance to reach people with the Good News of a God who is not distant but came among us to buy us back from the slavery of our sins. Why wouldn’t you want to make use of this weekend for that end?
Even if you don’t feel lead to make a big evangelistic effort at Easter, doesn’t it seem out of place not to acknowledge and dwell upon our Lord’s triumph over sin and death? I don’t feel that there is anything to be gained by doing nothing, and everything to be lost if we don’t do something.
EASTER WORSHIP STARTED MONTHS AGO
Worship leaders need to see the future. I start thinking about Christmas in mid-September. I start thinking about Easter at the start of February, and even sometimes into mid January. In the case of Easter, I begin to introduce new or classic songs that hold to the themes of Easter or Good Friday, of death and resurrection, of hope from hopelessness. So that when Good Friday or Easter Sunday hits, the church isn’t hit with a whole set of new or unfamiliar songs.
PLAY THE “A” TEAM
This is just a personal opinion, but I think I’m right on this. This is not the Sunday to play the new guy you’re “just trying out”. This is when the Varsity takes the field. This isn’t a normal church day, this is an outreach event, where you are more likely to have a non-believer than you are any of the Sundays leading up to Easter.
Someone will disagree with me for spiritual sounding reasons and I’ll point them to the above passage about doing nothing. You don’t have the guy who’s never preached before up front do you? You don’t have the guy who’s never grilled overseeing the annual summer BBQ do you? Put the best worship leader up there for the biggest moments.
PLAY THE “A” SONGS
Most of the guests at your church this Sunday will not be non-believers. Many believers will visit difference churches for family reasons, travel, or they’re just trying something out. Whatever the reason they come in the door, I want to serve these brothers and sisters the best way I can. I tend to lean towards the “A List” songs. The well known, not obscure, easy to learn, easy to sing songs that will serve the widest range of people. That’s not to say you shouldn’t include a homegrown or lesser known song in the set list, only that for days like Easter, they should probably be in the minority.
DON’T FAKE PEOPLE OUT
As much as I want the A Team playing the A Songs, I want Easter Sunday to still be Easter Sunday at MY church. We aren’t Hillsong, Mars Hill, Bethel, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, or the Baptist church down the street. We are who God has made us to be. I want anyone who walks in our doors to see our church family as we really are. I’m not big on bringing in guest musicians or doing things in a way that are so different that they show no resemblance to the Sunday before or after Easter. This is who we are, this is what God has called us to do. I grant you that we may be shooting for the best version of who we are, but it’s still authentic.
REMEMBER WHICH DAY IS WHICH
This might seem obvious to some. It’s Easter, how could we forget that? But I’ve been to enough church services that either didn’t have a Good Friday service or acted like it didn’t happen. Easter is our day of rejoicing in Christ’s Victory. The mourning is over! The Grave has been conquered! But the tone and feel of the service would have you think that Jesus is still in the grave. Just because you didn’t get to lead worship on Friday doesn’t mean it’s ok to break out the somber, minor key songs on the Sunday when we rejoice that Jesus conquered sin and death.
Hey guys, Easter is here! Let’s play well, pray hard and have some fun. Let us know how your weekend service go in the comments below.