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Easter Planning Series – Order of Service

Before we get started, can I just take a moment and say thank you. Not just for reading the blog, that’s great too, but for serving the Church.

Many of you are pastors, and I can guarantee that you have no idea of the true impact you’re making in people’s lives.

My life has been changed drastically because of pastors.

The first time it was because a pastor preached the gospel, which led me to  surrender my life to Christ.

The second time was because a pastor invited me to serve, which allowed me to use the gifts God had given me.

I’ve tried to go back and tell each of those pastors the difference they’ve made in my life, but I don’t think any of us will fully realize the true scope of our ministry on this side of Heaven.

So for everyone who hasn’t got the chance to tell you just yet, thank you.

Ok, now let’s talk about Easter. It’s just three weeks away.

By now you should have a few things accomplished.

In this post, we’re going to work on finalizing some of these plans and even start to put some into action. Let’s start with finalizing a couple of things.

Finalize Order of Service

We’re just a few weeks from the biggest Sunday of the year, so let’s make sure we know exactly what’s happening on that day. Most services consist of some version of these four things.

  • Worship Music – I know some churches start with a welcome, but I like to start with music. Opening with a song gives guests who are running late, a little extra time to get into the sanctuary. I recommend having your worship/song leader do a really quick welcome as the music begins, and then do your official welcome and offering talk right before the preaching. I would do a minimum of three songs and a maximum of five. Try to pick the songs your congregation knows and enjoys, and then add in one or two new ones that are special to the day.
  • Welcome/Giving – Many churches refer to this as the announcement time, but I don’t suggest identifying it this way. It’s way more important than just making announcements. This is your first opportunity to welcome guests, share the mission of the church and a story about how that mission is being lived out in someone’s life,  then invite the church to give to fund the mission. It can and should be one of the most impactful moments of your service, but it won’t be if you just use it to make announcements. Save the announcements for your email newsletter or Facebook group.
  • Preaching – I’m not going to say much on this topic, because you’re the expert here. But I do want to remind you that shorter sermons are better on holidays in which people and especially children are anxious about what’s happening later that day. As you’re preparing the message, don’t just think about what the person in your congregation needs to hear, think about what the person who doesn’t know Jesus in your community needs to hear. 
  • Next Step Invitation – I’m going to assume that the majority of you will be giving an invitation for people to surrender their lives to Jesus in some form or fashion. I would just ask you to think through what that process looks like on that Sunday and beyond. At the church I serve, we do our best to have a one on one conversation with everyone who makes a decision to follow Jesus. We give them a Bible if they need one, and a devotional. We also want to get their contact information. This is extremely important because many times a person who has just made that commitment to follow Jesus is highly susceptible to doubt and shame and fear. If they don’t have someone walking with them, there’s a really good chance they’ll walk away from the church. So, have a follow up plan for these people. One last thing on this point. You may not have anyone make a decision to follow Jesus on Easter and that’s ok. Your job is to share the Gospel. As long as you’re doing that, trust God with the rest. It often takes multiple Gospel presentations for someone to finally surrender their lives to Jesus.

Finalize Volunteers

It’s also time to finalize our volunteers. They should know the area they’re serving in, what time to be there, and what they need to do when they get there. Joe, you’re serving in the parking lot on Easter, we need you to be here 30 minutes before service starts, and your job is to make sure you wave to everyone who comes through the parking lot. If you see someone you don’t know, introduce yourself. Communicate clearly, and don’t overcomplicate things. 

Also make sure you the volunteers have any supplies they may need. Does the kids’ ministry have plenty of snacks? Does the nursery have extra diapers? Do we have enough offering envelopes? If you’re having an egg hunt, do we have extra bags or baskets for kids who forgot to bring their own?

Finalize Website

Quick confession, I meant to talk about this in my last post and I forgot. Don’t worry you still have time to get your website updated for Easter. You’ll want to put the Easter logo on your homepage and your Easter service times. It would be a good idea to make this the church’s Facebook page cover photo as well.

Also on your website, you want to put other important Easter details. How long will service be? What do I need to wear? Will you be offering children’s ministry? Will there be an egg hunt? If you need more ideas, just look at a few other churches who have good websites.

Those are the things you need to finalize this week, now let’s talk about the two things you need to start implementing this week.

Start Promotion

Some people like promoting a little earlier and some like to wait a little later, but for me three weeks away from Easter is when I would start. This is the week I’d start bundling up Easter invite cards and handing out to the congregation on Sunday morning. This is also the week I’d start promoting Easter services on your social media channels.

I primarily use Facebook, so let me make a couple suggestions. First, I would make sure to change the Facebook cover on my page and group to the Easter graphic. If the church doesn’t have a Facebook group, you should create one. I explain why in this post. Second, I would start scheduling 2-3 Easter related posts a week on the church page and group page. The posts on the page should be mostly invitation style. The posts in the group should be informational as well as inspirational. Your page is for those outside the church, and your group is for those inside the church.

Start Writing the Sermon

I’m not going to say much in this post, because let’s be honest this blog has already went too long. If you’re still reading, bless your heart. For now, let me just say the earlier you get started on something, the better it normally turns out. So, go ahead and start gathering ideas and jotting some things down. I’ll share much more about this in my next post. 

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