Unfortunately, too many Easter services are low in spiritual impact and very predictable. Too often they are nothing more than repeat versions of what is done every Sunday, except that the music and message focus on the resurrection. That focus is on target. However, the worship on this special day deserves more. Because Easter is one of the two highest attended worship services in the whole year, more thought and effort should go into ensuring it will have a high spiritual impact. So, let me suggest three potential, “not-novel” ideas that you have time to implement before Resurrection Sunday. The first is to encourage more people to attend and the other two ideas are designed to increase the spiritual impact of the service.
- Outreach: Advertise “Free Family Easter Portraits”
Ask a couple of people who are good at taking pictures, to take family portraits on Easter morning before worship begins. Also make it possible for people to pick up their pictures after the service. Another variation is to offer a “photo booth” and use an app (Pocketbooth) on a tablet set up to take pics and send to the family email.
- Worship Service: Butterflies and a Personal Resurrection Story
One pastor I heard about reminded the congregation of how Jesus’ resurrection is like a moth that goes into an enclosed tomb-like cocoon and then emerges as a beautiful butterfly. Nothing new about that analogy! However, as the pastor concluded his sermon, he released scores of butterflies as a beautiful visualization of rebirth and the new life that is possible through the resurrected Jesus. The worshipers never forgot that message!
Personal Resurrection Story
“A picture is worth a thousand words”, so consider having a person tell their own faith story. Include how the person became a Jesus follower and highlight special times that the resurrected Jesus made a real difference in his or her life. (Granted, giving a testimony is nothing new but it can make your Easter service have more spiritual impact, especially on the person who is far from God.) As you consider whom you might ask, keep in mind:
- Their faith story does not need to be dramatic but it must be genuine, vivid and transparent. The goal is to help people in the audience see how that becoming a follower of the resurrected Jesus can make a genuine difference in someone’s life.
- In choosing the person who will talk about the difference Jesus has made in their life, make sure that individual’s story can relate to the average person in the audience.
- Most people are shy about speaking publicly, so videotape the talk.
- Using the video approach also allows for editing which can significantly increase the quality and impact of the story.
People may not remember the sermon but they will remember the faith story of a person who told how the resurrected Christ has made a huge difference in their life.
There are a lot of other ways of increasing the spiritual impact of Easter worship. Let me know what you do and I’ll share it with others.