Hopefully by now you?ve landed on what story you?re going to tell on Easter Sunday. NewSpring Church has, and something tells me it?s going to be amazing. Check out the Easter page on their website, and I?ll bet you?ll be moved like I was. After thinking about NewSpring?s Easter for a few days, I was able to put my finger on what I loved about it and what I hope we can learn from it.
Easter at NewSpring is going to be focused, raw, and true. The reasons behind that have the potential to make Easter Sunday at your church, or any Sunday for that matter, better.
There are so many stories you can tell on Easter ? obviously the cross and empty tomb are at the core ??about the implications of a liberating king who died but is now risen, risen indeed. Again, there are so many stories you can tell: hope, victory, grace, rescue, redemption, new life, forgiveness, power, freedom, faith, faithfulness, and the list goes on. Pick one. Focus.
This is what NewSpring is doing in giving us the story of the Smith family. They aren?t talking about 10 different kinds of families walking through 10 different sets of circumstances because they don?t have time to do that during a worship service and neither do you. Instead, tell one story well, really well, and maybe folks will come back next week to hear the next story.
[quote]Tell one story well,?really?well, and maybe folks will come back next week to hear the next story.[/quote]
If you looked over the Smiths? story to see what it was about, you know that it?s heavy. Unfortunately, this isn?t the story of a man who got cancer and was miraculously healed. Rather, it?s the story of a man who got cancer and died, and his family has been in the process of grieving and healing ever since. Compelling stories require conflict and loss, which we?ve covered before, and kudos to the NewSpring team for having the guts to embrace that fact.
Read this one phrase from Mandy?s section of the website and let the rawness (and frankly, the un-churchy-ness) of it sink in: ?? Mandy knows the process of grief might never end ??
This isn?t neat and tidy. This isn?t a bundle of empty promises about shiny, happy people. This is raw and it meets people where they are ? in their pain, grief, and doubt. In their despair. NewSpring is following Jesus? lead: go where the people are.
The story of the Smith family isn?t a skit dictated by the senior pastor and dramatized by the youth guy. This isn?t a fairy tale;?it?s not fictional, fanciful, or aspirational. This is a true story inhabited by real people ? you know, just like the real people you?re trying to reach. Just like the real people who sit in your seats on Easter Sunday and then vanish into the ether until Christmas Eve.
By telling a true story instead of a constructed parable, NewSpring is giving its visitors a chance to see the ways in which grace interacts with tragedy, loss, healing, and hope in the lives of real people. The message won?t be theoretical; it will be tangible.
I?m speculating here, but I think Easter at NewSpring is going to be a time when people encounter Jesus and his gospel in a way they never have before. And perhaps I?m being naive, but I think every Sunday on the calendar is just as loaded with potential. Let?s do what we can to unleash that potential by telling stories that are focused, raw, and true.