Do you ever look back at your life and think, “Where did the time go?!”
Life seems to be flying by and it’s easy to get caught up in a routine. Drop the kids off; go to work; go home; go to bed. Even the more notable days like holidays, birthdays, and vacations blend into the mundaneness of ordinary life.
Is your spiritual life flying by, too? Do you notice members of your ministry going through the actions of Bible study, service projects, and Sunday services without stopping to really take in all the extraordinary gifts Jesus is giving? Has faith turned humdrum?
Easter (April 1) and the weeks leading up to Resurrection Sunday provide a wonderful opportunity to bust through the old, boring routine and get off the hamster wheel! God sent Jesus, in the flesh, to die on Calvary’s cross and be our Savior. There’s nothing humdrum about that. But how can you make this faith-affirming Easter message one to remember? How can you send the power of the Gospel straight into the hearts and minds of your worshipers?
Here are three ways to do it. Choose activities based on your ministry’s schedule, budget, and interest level. No matter which you choose, present each activity with a renewed sense of spirit and Easter glory that will strengthen the faith of those around you.
Ash Wednesday and Lent
For some churches, Ash Wednesday (February 14) marks the beginning of Lent. The Lenten season brings six weeks of reflection and repentance, taking time to focus on Jesus’ life and death. If your church doesn’t want to do “Lent,” simply don’t use the label and refer to it as a time of preparation for Easter. Take advantage of the six weeks with these suggestions:
- Hold special midweek worship services. If you wish, make these services shorter and more casual than Sunday services. You may even invite participation from attendees. Encourage the ministry groups at your church to take turns preparing a meal before or after the service. All of these things will make a midweek service less daunting for busy professionals and families with young children.
- Make Sunday services special. Gear your music and readings so everything points to Jesus’ sacrifice for his people. You can even focus your services and music on a central theme. Check out CTA’s This Is Love: Acts of the Savior theme. The devotion book takes worshippers through the Easter story using the book of Acts. You can coordinate with themed sermons, bulletin covers, PowerPoint slides, and flyers. It’s all available for FREE download in CTA’s Resource & Idea Center.
- Invite the members of your ministry to join together in a group study. Instead of hosting the usual Bible study on Sunday morning, send each worshipper home with a devotion book after Ash Wednesday services. (The book is available in two versions: ESV and KJV.) Encourage the group to read one devotion each day and jot down their thoughts. Members can start online discussions via email or message boards and talk about how Jesus is working in their hearts.
- Prompt ministry members to break their routines and, by doing so, look for ways to worship and reflect upon Jesus’ Easter sacrifice. Consider a few examples: Instead of watching Netflix, use that time to study Jesus and his earthly ministry. Instead of keeping your nose in the paper every Saturday morning at the coffee shop, start conversations and share Jesus with other customers. Recognize Christ’s forgiveness in your life and plan to turn from sinful ways. Make a pledge to stop gossiping or complaining and instead, focus on biblical ways to support those around you. If you find yourself breaking that pledge, return to Jesus’ cross and his promise of sins washed away, and move on with a renewed spirit.
- Follow the same plan for midweek services listed above, but hold these brief services in the morning during Holy Week. Encourage different ministry groups to serve coffee and a light breakfast. To simplify planning, take advantage of CTA’s FREE sermon outlines in the This Is Love theme. You’ll find six ready-to-go messages and discussion guides for your worshippers.
- If morning services won’t work for your church, consider recording daily devotions on a podcast or on YouTube. Email these devotions to your worshippers or post them on a special “Holy Week” section of your website.
- Put special meaning into your services during Easter weekend. To foster the somber feelings of Good Friday, keep the lights low and the music slow during services. Take time to retrace the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and burial in the tomb. Give each worshipper a meaningful gift to take home. Within the This Is Love theme, CTA offers a rustic nail with bookmark, a lapel pin and inspiration card, and a decorative pocket piece. Each of these gifts will prompt your ministry members to remember Jesus’ all-forgiving sacrifice and intentionally reaffirm their faith throughout the year.
- On Easter Sunday, celebrate the joy of the resurrection in all its glory—use triumphant music, bright flowers, and joyful Scripture featuring our Redeemer and King! Provide a Christ Is Risen keepsake for visitors and guests that will help keep the celebration alive.
Don’t let the message of Easter get buried in the ordinary routine this year. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and Easter resurrection form the bedrock of our faith! Make sure your worshippers take this message to heart—our Savior suffered for them; he hung on a cross for them; he rose from the dead for them; and he will come again to take them to live with eternal Easter joy in heaven!
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