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.
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?