For most of the worship leaders that I know in the Southern California area, Easter weekend is a hectic mix of special ensembles, hired players and extensive media. Sometimes pyrotechnics and other special staging is involved!
Besides my work at COD, I also work in entertainment at Disneyland – the pyrotechnics and extensive staging make sense there (when what they’re doing is putting on a show), but here in our community church setting, not so much. Other churches may use these things to appeal to and reach out to those who don’t normally go to church.
Anyway, where was I? Right, Easter weekend. It’s a special time for us as believers, no doubt. And it’s true that non-Christians come to services on Easter Sunday more often than even Christmas most seasons. I have always had the conviction that we should not be obligated to perform for them in a way that’s not true to ourselves. We want to make the gospel clear, and show others how much this day means to us as followers devoted to Christ and His saving grace. It’s never been more appropriate for us at COD to keep things simple than this year, in our Faith to Rest year.
Did we trust that God will draw others to Himself this Easter Sunday? I think so. I hope so. Because He did, in ways that many of us will probably never see or understand. I did have a man approach me after one service to share that he had broken down in gratitude to God, and it’d been a long time since that happened for him. I’ve come to learn the value of simplicity in worship, and meaningful connection to God and others with simple and familiar songs. I’m responsible as a shepherd in this community to lead us in opportunities of rest, and as much as I can, I’ve tried to do that this year. Let’s grasp and practice the concept that God can do His will so much more effectively when we rest in Him and let Him lead than when we work our grandiose plans to impress others. It’s true of Easter season, and it’s true in our weekly lives.