3-11 Blog_Easter

5 Must-Haves for your Easter Service

What do you feel when you realize that Easter is right around the corner?

As a worship pastor at Stevens Creek Church, I get excited. But, I also get a little anxious. The reason for conflicting emotions is that I know what’s at stake. More people come through our church doors that weekend than any other weekend of the year.

There’s no better time to have a clear presentation of the gospel than on Easter. So, we better bring our A- Game. Here are 5 ways to make your Easter experience more impactful this year.

1. Grab Their Attention

In the first few minutes of your service, it’s important to have something that will capture your audience’s attention. Maybe for you this attention grabber is flashier- involving elaborate stage lights, fog machines, and a full choir. Or maybe it’s simpler with a chair on stage, a single spotlight, one singer, and a captivating song. Both approaches are effective and neither is better than the other. And at Stevens Creek, we like to mix it up every year.

For example, last year, our service opener was a high-energy start with six people on video retelling the story of the Resurrection. Behind it, the band was playing the chords to Hillsong’s “Alive”. By the time the story finished, the band had built to a full crescendo and the vocalists went directly into singing the first verse of the song.

On the other extreme, a few years back, we started with a video that told the story of the Crucifixion. Next, a single light came up on the stage with someone singing a cappella the old Andre Crouch song, “I Don’t Know Why Jesus Loved Me”.

Both were powerful, both captured their attention but they were done in very different ways. Don’t feel pressured to keep going “bigger, better, and flashier” than last year. Sometimes the simplest openers can be the most impactful.

Don’t feel pressured to keep going “bigger, better, and flashier” than last year. Sometimes the simplest openers can be the most impactful.

2. Limit congregational Music to 10 Minutes

This is one that, on occasion, I get some pushback for.

I can hear some of you as you’re reading this saying, “How is 10 minutes enough worship time on Easter?” And, my assistant would agree with you. She told me while planning our first service together, “Two songs ain’t enough for my Jesus on Easter.” Selfishly, I agree with her because I love to worship and I especially love to celebrate on Easter.

But we have to ask ourselves this question: “Who is our target audience for that day?”

But we have to ask ourselves this question: “Who is our target audience for that day?”

On this day, more than any other, we’re going to have a lot of nonbelievers in our services. So why would we spend 30 minutes singing songs they don’t know or understand?

Personally, I like to spend about 10 minutes in congregational singing and then use the rest of the time that I have before the message to employ meaningful moments that inspire, connect, and challenge attendees.

3. Help Them Face the Agony of the Cross

I think so often on Easter we only focus on the Resurrection but not on the Cross. Yes, Easter is about the Resurrection. But without the cross, without the death of Jesus, there is no Resurrection, there is no Easter.

I aim for people to have a moment of gravity when they come face-to-face with the facts of how Jesus took on our guilt and shame. I find a creative way to tell the story of the cross and allow them to sense the pain Jesus faced. But then, focus on moving them past the pain so that they recognize that it was temporary… that because of what Jesus did on the cross… because of the pain and agony that He suffered, we can be free.

I aim for people to have a moment of gravity when they come face-to-face with the facts of how Jesus took on our guilt and shame.

I want them to know that sin has lost its sting, death has been defeated, and that we can be raised to life just as Jesus was. Without the agony of the cross, there is no celebration of the Resurrection.

4. Tell Stories of Life Change

We want those that don’t have a relationship with Jesus to hear stories of people, who were broken, and that when they found Jesus their lives were forever changed. And one way to do this is through interviews.

It is important that you have a game plan when you are interviewing. Our technical director at Stevens Creek uses these three questions to shape the interviews in the stories that we tell about life change:

  • What was your life like before you met Jesus?
  • How did you come to know Jesus?
  • What’s your life like now after your encounter with Jesus?

Typically at Stevens Creek, we share these interviews through a video in service. But, I realize that some of you don’t have someone or the tools to capture a story like that on video. If that’s the case, I would encourage you to tell the story in other ways. Like having the pastor or interviewee read the story during the sermon. You could also do a live interview as long as that person is comfortable speaking in a live setting.

There’s all kinds of ways to tell people’s stories; however, the method is not as important as making sure that we are telling them.

5. Leave with the Hope of the Resurrection

Make the message end with hope. Let people know that no matter how far from God they think they are that, because of the Resurrection, they can be raised to live through Jesus.

Let people know that no matter how far from God they think they are that, because of the Resurrection, they can be raised to live through Jesus.

At Stevens Creek, we will end the message with an opportunity for people to receive Christ. After that prayer, we will lead into the offering time where one of our pastors will give a couple next steps. If they received Christ, they will be asked to check the box marked “I received Christ today” on our worship guide and then drop it in the offering box on the way out. We can then follow up with them over the coming weeks and help them as they start their journey of faith. Then, we will share the sermon series coming up next to give people a reason to come back the next week. While receiving the offering, we end with a high energy, hope-filled song.

I want to make sure people are leaving with the hope of the Resurrection echoing in their hearts.

 

I’m so excited about what God is going to do through our churches this Easter season. I hope this post will be helpful to you as you are praying, dreaming and planning for Easter 2021.
I pray that this Easter will bring life change for many. I pray that you and your team will walk away refreshed after pouring into those looking for the Hope that we have found! The hope of Jesus…the One who changes everything.

 

Like this blog and want to read more? Check out Todd’s personal blog here for more insightful tips on church leadership and planning Sunday services.

Todd Sturgell
Creative Worship Pastor at | Website

Todd is currently the Worship Pastor at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, GA. He lives there with his wife, April, and their 2 boys, Ashton and Grayson. Todd has led worship at Stevens Creek for more than 20 years, and has poured into a countless amount of leaders over that time. His desire is to inspire people to live lives of excellence passion and authenticity.

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