In case you haven’t noticed, Easter is just around the corner. This is one busy week for worship leaders and church musicians with a lot of extra rehearsals, added stress, and raised expectations. Last year I wrote a post on keeping it all in perspective, so this year I thought I’d offer just a few random lessons I’ve learned over the years of leading worship on Easter. These are in no particular order of importance.
“Christ the Lord is Risen Today” is too high in D major. Most hymnals have this classic hymn in the key of D. That’s fine for the first two lines, but then towards the end you start hitting some high F#s. Too high, especially at a 7:00am sunrise service. Go with C major. It keeps the high note to an E, and the lower notes are still singable.
Make sure your overflow room is staffed and pretty. I’ll never forget walking past our overflow room one year and seeing a room full of nicely dressed people, sitting in a dark room, staring at a grainy video image, listening to a low quality audio feed, looking like they were at a funeral. Easter shouldn’t feel like a funeral (obviously). If you’re anticipating having an overflow room, make sure it’s bright and has flowers, has a great video and audio feed, and put some live singers in there to sing along with the music and encourage the people to do the same.
Don’t forget the food. I wrote a post a few months ago on how important it is to feed your team (literally). Easter Sunday is usually a long morning for the pastors, musicians, and volunteers. Make sure to get some coffee, juices, water, and food for people to snack on all morning long. It will keep morale up and keep people’s energy going strong.
Stick with familiar songs. On Christmas and Easter, people want to sing familiar songs. This can be tough because there are many more familiar Christmas carols than there are Easter hymns. Do throw in some newer songs, but I would caution you against trying anything brand new. Your congregation won’t mind singing familiar songs, and your visitors will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Stay away from the cheese. It’s hard to find good art/graphics to use on your screen or in your bulletin. The internet abounds with images of bunnies, eggs, and cute sunrises. Unless it’s good quality and adds something – don’t use it.
Dress up. Guys, wear a tie. Ladies, wear something nice (and modest!). Unless you serve in a setting where wearing a tie or nice clothes would make you stand out, go ahead and dress up on Easter. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed, and this way you don’t run the risk of coming across as flippant.
Treat this like your super bowl. This is most likely going to be the best-attended Sunday for your church this year. Make sure your campus looks nice, your signs are clear and in place, your chairs are well placed, and you’re ready for visitors.
Remember where the power comes from. The gospel will change people’s lives, not your music. Make sure the good news of Jesus Christ – our risen Savior who conquered sin and death on the cross – is proclaimed with clarity and passion. Make it plain, make it clear, make it central, and make it the focus.