EASTER PREP PT 2: WARNINGS

This is part 2 in our Easter Prep series. Hopefully it will help you look toward Holy Week with expectation and hard work! (You can click here to read last week's post.)
It's good to remember that with a weekend as big as Easter, it helps to do a little bit of work every single day. Believe it or not, your team doesn't enjoy being bombed with emails four days before the service! Work a little every single day and when it's time to step up and lead worship, you'll be ready!

I'm sure your congregation appreciates the music you lead each week, but if your church is going to have a lot of people on Easter who aren't familiar with "church music", you may want to spend some time thinking about how your stuff is going to come across. You'll have brand new eyes and ears on you. Here's some stuff to think about.

BE CAREFUL WITH GIMMICKS

We all want to provide our people with something special and memorable on Easter, but if we're not careful we go astray. It's a sad trend in our culture that many churches will try and pull off performance stunts on Easter that are completely unlike anything they do week-to-week.

Remember that people who don't go to church DO go to concerts. They watch TV. They go to the movies. They see spectacle all the time. They see the most professional of bands and shows. What's cool and new for your church, may be laughable to guests. Why not aim for a different kind of memorable? Why not work toward providing an environment where people are distracted and can focus on the empty tomb?

PROTECT THE GOSPEL

Easter Sunday is a battleground! Your enemy would love nothing more than to see you distracted to the point of unfaithfulness. It doesn't seem possible, but it's a real threat on such a big service day. A clear presentation of the Gospel is priority #1 for us on Easter. (Just like it is every time we gather together.)

I'm not talking about "soul-winning" or "altar calls." Yes, our service should be evangelistic, but it should celebrate and revel in what Jesus accomplished. The Gospel story - He came, He died, He rose again - has to be clear because it will do everything that God intends. It will move us to passionate, reverent praise and it will call sinners to repentance. Protect the Gospel!

KEEP THE EGO IN CHECK

If you're the worship leader in your church, there's a good chance that you're really good at music. You probably sing beautifully and play an instrument with excellence. If you're not great at those things, you're most likely a good administrator or a creative planner. You're good at your job, is what I'm getting at.

It can be an ego boost to be the man or woman in charge on Easter. You sing the special solo, you write the Easter pageant, etc. I urge you to protect the people around you (and yourself) by delegating as much as you can. Not only to keep yourself from burning out, but you allow others to be blessed by serving the church. Yes, you could probably do it all and you'd probably do a great job, but why kill yourself just so everybody will sit back and think, "Ooooooh, how talented!" Let other people benefit by ministering!

SONGWRITING FOR CORPORATE WORSHIP #2

Second installment is available now. In this episode, we talk about three specific techniques to make your songs more singable for the congregation.

This episode is a good bit longer than the previous show, but I tried to give as much detail and as many examples as I could muster! Thanks for listening. Hope you're encouraged to write singable songs


EASTER PREP PT 1: MORE THAN SUNDAY SONGS

Ask your congregants about Easter and they'll look at you funny. To most folks, Easter is a long way off. But worship leaders know - IT'S HERE.
If you work in a larger church, you've probably already been in meetings about what you'll do for Easter. But for a lot of us, we're just now realizing that we need to get to work.
That's why I've decided to get you fired up for Easter planning this year! For the next three weeks, we'll be sharing a few things to think about as you prepare to lead worship for Easter. How you think and prepare yourself makes a huge difference in what happens when we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.

There's a temptation to spend all our time on perfect the setlist for Easter Sunday. And while song selection is SO important, we can negatively impact the quality of our ministry if we're only focused on music. As you prepare for this Easter, do a little brainstorming and try to think of as many "non-musical" responsibilities you'll have that day.

THE WEEKEND

Remember that your job doesn't just happen on Easter Sunday. Most of you will also lead a Good Friday service or Maundy Thursday. Take a few minutes to think all those other services - they should work together to lead our people to an honest realization of the victory of Jesus and to passionate worship for what He accomplished on the cross. And what about when the weekend's over? Do you have a plan in place to get some rest so you can recover? Do you write thank-you notes or send out emails to your band and tech team on Sunday night to thank them for all their hard work?

Carving out some time to think about the whole of Easter weekend may be overwhelming, but you'll be glad you did. Commit to working on at least two Easter-related duties this week. It will make a huge difference!

NO NEW SONGS ON EASTER

You read that right. Do NOT add a new song on Easter Sunday. (No matter how epic and awesome it is.) Think about it for a second - your church will be filled with a lot of guests. Many of those guests won't know your songs (especially if they're unchurched.) So your congregation is gonna' have to sing out, right? Then why would you throw a brand new song at your people?

However...If you want to add a new Easter song and have it bless your congregation, teach it in the weeks proceeding Easter Sunday. Give your folks time to learn it so that when we meet to celebrate the Resurrection, we can sing it like we believe it. (I also recommend NOT introducing the song with "Uh, we're singing this on Easter so y'all better learn it...") Make it a part of your normal song catalog. If it's a good one, hopefully you'll continue singing it long after Easter is over.

WHAT'S THE STORY?

Holy Week is an extremely busy time in the life of a church, which means it's easy to operate on assumptions, specifically as to who's-doing-what on Sunday morning. Often, we neglect one of our most important relationships - the person preaching! The teaching pastor who will stand on the platform and teach bears a huge responsibility: to preach a big message in a short amount of time (especially if you're doing more services than normal.) Many of us show up on Easter Sunday having spent very little time talking to the person who's delivering the message. A few conversations over coffee or a lunch can go a long way toward building some cohesion between what the two of you do. Does the music need to setup something that the preacher needs to utilize in the sermon?

Make an effort today to get with your pastor and talk through Easter Sunday. You'll find that you both come into Easter Sunday more prepared and confident in what you've got to do. I guarantee your pastor will appreciate you making the effort!

Easter Weekend is so important! Start thinking and praying now that your ministry will clearly present the Risen Savior! If you've got tips about Easter, share them in the comments.
What do you do to get ready for Easter and make sure that your ministry is as excellent as it can be?