One thing is certain: the week before Easter Sunday is one of the biggest times of the year for a Christian. After all, many of the elements of the gospel are seen during that week: the curse of sin, Jesus’ death on the cross, His burial, His resurrection, and the response in faith. With all these key events taking place in Scripture within such a short period of time, it’s easy to see that there are plenty of ways for a church body to worship Jesus during that week!
Here are five ideas to help you approach Holy Week with a renewed focus on Jesus (and see below for some free tools!):
- Make Palm Sunday more than waving palm branches. This day is, of course, a celebration of the triumphal entry of Jesus. Keep that same spirit of welcome and celebration in your Palm Sunday service, especially considering Jesus’ statement: “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out” Luke 19:40 (CSB).
- Recall the betrayal on a Wednesday prayer gathering. Mark 14:1 tells us that two days before the Passover, the chief priests and the scribes actively plotted to arrest and kill Jesus. Judas would agree to THE betrayal, but it’s not hard for us to see other betrayals in lesser degrees: Peter, the other disciples, the crowd, even our own betrayal of Jesus in our daily struggles. Holy Week is a great reason to hold a church-wide confession, repentance, and prayer time during a Wednesday lunchtime or evening gathering.
- Have a personal, purposeful Lord’s Supper on Thursday. Jesus and His disciples enjoyed an intimate (and purposeful) meal together the night before His arrest (see Mark 14:17). Today, the Lord’s Supper is all too often lost in a list of other parts of a Sunday morning or evening worship. To help recapture an intimacy and purpose, one idea is to dedicate a Thursday night service with a focus on the Lord’s Supper for all present.
- Remember the seven sayings of Jesus on Friday. This can be done several ways, but perhaps one of the most popular formats is a service with seven speakers giving mini-sermons (5-10 minutes) on each saying as found in the four Gospels. There are plenty of other ways to do this, but the key concept is to remember the seven sayings of Jesus in the four Gospels in a brief, momentous, and worshipful manner.
- Start off Resurrection Sunday at sunrise. Yep, sunrise. There are all locations for this type of service: by the beach, in a park, in a church parking lot, and even indoors in a room with plenty of windows (especially if it is cold outside!). If advertised well, there is a potential for guests to attend a service like this, making for the perfect opportunity for sharing the gospel! It’s also a chance to invite those same people to services to be held later that morning.
These are only five ideas, but you probably get the picture. Most of all, make Holy Week an occasion for a fresh, new approach to worshiping the King. As you do this, you can help your church be more passionate, intimate, and Christ-focused leading up to Easter. And remember, He is Risen!
Fran Trascritti works at Lifeway Christian Resources as the Brand Manager for Explore the Bible. You can reach him at Fran.Trascritti@Lifeway.com or follow him on Twitter: @frantras
Download Your Free Holy Week Worship Kit
Holy Week is the center of the Christian faith. This Easter, Explore the Bible wants to help your church worship Jesus Christ all week long with a free Holy Week Worship Kit. This downloadable kit will provide you with fresh ideas for your church to reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ beginning on Palm Sunday and culminating on Easter. This entire kit is yours for free along with four obligation-free sessions of Explore the Bible for your entire church. Download it here