Holy Week at Home

A new reality is sinking in for many churches: Holy Week services—including Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter—will not be happening at the church building like normal.

What has historically been the church’s version of the Super Bowl has quickly been upended. So how do we transform one of the holiest weeks in the Christian calendar from an in-person series of events to an almost entirely digital experience?

Simplify the service

We’ve talked about this quite a bit, but I think this rings even truer right now: people desire authenticity more than production. And Holy Week services create an incredible opportunity to be raw and real with your congregation. Instead of having an overproduced time of worship for Good Friday, take a step back. Simplify the service. Good Friday is a great time to be solemn. And there is a lot of grieving happening right now. So let’s own it.

Acknowledge the anxiety

A common theme in my meetings this week has been the underlying anxiety, stress, and grief people are facing right now. What once was normal has been wiped away. Parts of life we thought we could count on to be constants have suddenly been ripped away. Our situations are changing by the day—sometimes by the hour—and the news usually isn’t in a positive direction (yet). More than 3 million Americans filed for unemployment just last week. It’s okay to acknowledge the anxiety that everyone is facing. In fact, what better time to talk about stress, grief, pain, loss, or anxiety than during Holy Week? Honestly, could there be any more relevant and timely subjects as we enter the week leading to Jesus’ death and resurrection?

Getting creative with Communion

Rightfully so, most churches take part in the Lord’s Supper at some point during Holy Week. But now that services are not in-person like normal, how can you still implement that sacrament into worship without physically being together? One of the most important aspects of Communion is community. The Christian Reformed Church has created a guide of collected wisdom on The Lord’s Supper and COVID-19.

Additional Holy Week ideas and resources:

Brady Shearer at Pro Church Tools suggests “The Holy Week Unwind,” which means doing small, simple elements each day from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday.

Our friends at Church Marketing University created a full list of crowdsourced ideas for Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

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