What a strange time for churches… Holy week. Spending a lot of time and most all of a church’s resources preparing for (in most cases) one day. Some churches have a maundy thursday service, a good friday service, a sunrise service, and three regular services on sunday. I make no judgment on either of those… just giving the two ends of the spectrum. Our church is having a few easter services, but nothing over-the-top this year, which I’m thankful for, and here’s why…
First, there are so many ‘options’ for Easter services… (all with good intentions and wonderful traditions), but with so many events, it is very, very easy to lose quality by gaining extra stuff. The more events a pastor has going, the less time they can spend on each event, which, eventually, leads to a less-than-quality event.
Second, it seems like churches are becoming less interested in a message, and more interested in being seen. What could have been a really powerful time of teaching about Jesus & His sacrifice for us has, in some churches, become more of an excuse to put a gimmicky commercial on the local tv station. I’m not sure that non-church-goers are really looking for flashy and I’m almost certain that NOBODY is looking for a used car salesman.
Third, churches aren’t good at marketing. I’m sure you’ve gotten the hundreds of email forwards about church bulletin mis-haps. Something must happen to the human mind when they receive Christ that makes them unable to think creatively about church any more. Why make a big deal out of a service that may or may not be worth inviting people to? Aside from the life-changing power of Christ, most easter services are somewhat laughable. A woman with gigantic hair sings the Easter Song, two men dressed in 40 year old suits give testimony, and the pastor cries for ten minutes while trying to preach. Not my idea of something I’d invite my neighbor to.
Forth, the pastor’s first ‘congregation’ and most important ministry is to his (or her) family. With every holiday brings some sort of special services and events and time away from the family. Obviously Easter and Christmas are big days for a church. But maybe a more direct and understated approach would be better for a change.
All that to say this… maybe the church has been going about the holiday services thing all wrong. Maybe it’s time to rethink 18 holy week services. Maybe we could go back to the first Easter service. Just a big rock and an angel and some seriously amazed people singing praise.