A Great Opportunity
Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas tend to be days when attendance at our worship gatherings increases. Generally, these are the times when we roll out our red carpets and bring out the fanfare and “productions” to attract attenders. Many churches put on cantatas, plays and musicals. Other churches dust off the seasonal songs for the worship set list.
While, there is a time and a place for special elements of celebration and elaborate production in our worship, I believe that these seasonal gatherings are the most under utilized days on our church calendars. Why? Because we put a lot of focus on creating these extravagant specials and really don’t take advantage of an opportunity that presents itself in a very simple and dynamic way right in front of our eyes each year.
There is something to be said for familiarity. Oh, I’m not talking about getting into a rut and not budging. I’m not even talking about routine, as much as I am talking about creating rhythm. A rhythm that people who are far from God can approach, observe, and eventually participate in.
Come Back Next Week For Something Totally…Different?
You see, we tend to pull out the best worship “china” and put on our seasonal “Sunday best” during these times of the year instead of just being who we are. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to musicals, plays, cantatas, or flaming sword juggling if it’s done well and for the glory of God, but I see such an opportunity to include all of these new faces, all of these unchurched, all of these “far from God” people in a way that runs counter to what we’ve done for so long.
We tend to bring out the fireworks on the big day and then the next week, if any of the new guests decided to come back, it’s a total let down. Where are the flying angels, the guys in fake beards and dresses, or the soldiers from Gladiator?
Come Back Next Week For More of The Same Goodness
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could honestly tell guests on Easter that when they come back next week, the experience they had that day would be the same next week? Wouldn’t it be something if they actually wanted to come back? Wouldn’t it be nice if they felt that they could come “just as they were” without the hoopla of the seasonal celebration?
Hear me when I say (again) that we SHOULD incorporate the arts into our celebration. I think God delights in our efforts to reflect His glory in spectacular ways. I just think that for years we’ve been putting on these circus type events during the holidays and experiencing great attendance…
…until the next week.
In my experience, people are comfortable coming back and plugging in when they know what they are getting in to. When we reserve those big days for our special shindigs people come for the first time and really have no clue who we really are as a faith family. We’ve done a pretty good job at the church I’m working with to create an Resurrection oriented service that fits within the parameters of our “normal” Sunday gathering. Sure, we go all out, sure we add elements that we wouldn’t normally do (we’re using a hydraulic lift to illustrate a point), but ultimately it’s not a different element from what we would normally do because we use illustrative props all the time.
When people join us for our Easter celebration, we can confidently say, “When you come back next week, everything will look the same, the energy and music will be the same, the service will be the same length, and you’ll enjoy it just as much next week as today.”
Something to consider.