By Dennis Choy
The word “Easter” for most people brings up very great images and thoughts whether you’re a believer or not. Easter egg hunts, hanging with family, chocolate bunnies and for some—going to church. For those in the church world it can bring up different images and thoughts. Sunrise service times, extra service hours, big choirs, special music, and elaborate stage sets. After all, it is the resurrection of our Lord Christ!
But with that can also come anxiety, fear, and long hours, especially for those in the production world. Easter falls in a regular week rotation, so it’s not a standalone event that we build up for with nothing else to do but create for it. We must also figure out how to make it happen between two regular service weekends. So, planning becomes an essential part to helping alleviate the stress of what’s coming. Here are a couple tips for me that help get a production team ready.
1. PRAYER (Ahead of Time)
It sounds so basic, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in planning meetings, neck deep in ideas and trying to figure out how to pull it off, when I realize that I forgot the first and most important step: giving all of it up to Jesus and asking that his Will be in all the planning and ideas. With his guidance, we can select what to do and not to do. We just need that to be our center and focus and not an afterthought to the whole reason of Easter.
2. BRAINSTORM vs DIRECTION
How many meetings have you been in about Easter, and ideas are flying off the shelf? Our production minds need to take each idea and flush it out—from everything that could go wrong to getting to a point where we can say yes to an idea. But creatives in the room want to keep the ideas flowing because that creates more ideas, and then they land on one or two that sound viable.
You see sometimes we need to announce at the beginning of the meeting, “This is a brainstorm meeting, so all ideas only and don’t try and figure it out yet.” I feel like I need to know that so I can free the side of my brain that needs to get into figure-it-out mode. That comes after we settle on the ideas.
3. PLAN, BUT IN PENCIL
My pastor, Larry, used to say, “Plan in pencil.” The idea is that we should plan for things, but know that it’s in pencil because things may change. Understand that it’s worth writing down, but it also has some flexibility to it. In pencil, it can be erased; it’s okay to spend some time on it trying to figure it out, but if it changes, that’s okay, too.
It’s a difficult position for a mind that likes to figure it out to know that hours, days, and weeks spent on the idea could be changed. Make sure the team knows at the beginning the plans will likely change as needed as we get closer to the service, and help them realize that this is okay.
What I’ve learned over my many years of ministry leading up to 16 teams at one point is that no matter how much we “THINK” people know about something, it’s usually not as much as we thought. If everyone overcommunicates changes and directions across departments to everyone else (I know that sounds chaotic, but it really does work if done properly), we will be much more informed and can head off any major miscommunications in the future. If we all commit to overcommunicating (knowing that some won’t), we will be better off than not focusing on it.
I pray as Easter is coming that you can utilize some or all of these tips on planning for your services. Ultimately, I must remind myself and I want to remind you as well that no matter what we do on Easter, nothing is a failure—it’s a win for Jesus. He can use anything and anyone for his glory. So, let’s try and aim to do our best for him.