IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR EASTER MESSAGE STICK
Written by Aaron Helman
The first time I got to teach the Easter message in my youth ministry, I was excited beyond words.
I loved doing youth ministry, and everything about it, and the chance to share the Resurrection message of Jesus was the most exciting part of all.
I’d started ministry in August, and by the time April came around, I was like a little kid at Christmas.
This was the day and message I’d been looking forward to forever.
But that excitement started to fade after year two and year three and year eight.
It’s not that I loved Easter any less. It’s just that it got harder and harder to say something fresh and new about a story I’d taught on over and over and over again.
The same thing goes for all of Lent, Advent, and Christmas time.
We feel this pressure to package these stories in new and exciting ways, to show students something in them that they haven’t seen before, and most of all, we don’t want students to roll their eyes and say, “Ugh, this story again?!”
So we look for a new curriculum, another catchy series title, a flashier graphic. How can we make this Easter better than last year?, we wonder.
It’s not easy, but it might be different than you think.
Prepare for Easter as if you’d never prepared for it before.
Imagine you were asked to prepare a message based on a passage from Habakkuk that was pretty obscure – at least to you. How would you get ready for it?
You wouldn’t start with a graphic or a logo or a title or a hook.
You’d start by reading and rereading the passage.
You’d be silent and pray about it.
You’d seek out commentaries that explained the terms and references that flew over your head.
Maybe you’d consult that Old Testament book that’s been sitting in your bookshelf since college.
If it were me, I’d send a message to a friend of mine who is a theology professor at a local Christian college.
I’d offer to buy him coffee in exchange for his input and wisdom.
All of that is exactly how I intend to prepare my Easter message this year.
Instead of preparing to tell a story that I already know, I’ll study as if it’s a story I don’t.
How do you find something new to share? Learn something new yourself.
Dig deep into the story until it prompts you to ask questions you haven’t asked before and then find answers you’ve never found before.
That’s the thing about Scripture.
We don’t get to invent new ways to tell old stories. We discover them.
This Easter (or Palm Sunday or Lenten season), enter into the story the way you would enter into a brand new story that you didn’t fully understand.
Take the posture of a novice, not an expert. Prepare as if you’d never taught the thing before.
Don’t cheat your prep time just because you think you know the story.
Sometimes you’ll discover and fall into the new angle that you’d never seen there before.
Other times your discernment process might inform you that the most important thing to say is actually something you need to say again.
But most importantly, you’ll allow yourself to be guided by the Truth of Scripture, not just what you’ve understood about that Truth before.
End blog post.
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Article written by Aaron Helman, a youth pastor for 15+ years in South Bend, Indiana.