What distinguishes Passion Week in a vertical church?
1: Passion Week is a week, not a day or a weekend. We give our people special materials and devotionals to work through personally. We give them music to listen to on their way to church. We are a church family and we love to remember and, ultimately, rejoice together. Check out the website TheDayJesusDied.com, where you will find our Good Friday service from last year and the devotional we led our congregation through this year.
2: The primary goal remains the exaltation of Jesus Christ—not the winning of lost people, which is a byproduct of God’s manifest presence and never the primary goal. (More on this: “Unafraid Witness” from Vertical Church.)
3: The focus on the cross and “Good Friday” is as important as the empty tomb and Easter celebration. At Harvest we’ve built a culture of somber reflection surrounding Good Friday services. People travel great distances to our original campus from all over Chicagoland, yet the attendance is 4/5 of our Easter totals. Everyone wears black, enters in silence, and leaves in sorrow. The service has not a moment of victory or celebration, because that’s the way it was originally. Not a single melody of joy, not a note of triumph! The cross and death of Christ are only seen as good—the greatest good—looking back. For the first disciples, the death of Christ was the end, the loss of who and how every hope might find fulfillment. They DID NOT KNOW or understand that Christ was not finished personally when He said “It is finished” (John 19:30).
Good Friday reflection is like being pulled back in a slingshot. Looking into the empty tomb and rejoicing from the depth of your soul are massively amplified through your heart awareness of what sin’s payment cost God’s Son. Of course you don’t need a service to do that, but it is our joy to serve our people by leading them down the road of suffering as a preparation to shout “Hallelujah!”
The Good Friday service is creative and immersive. This year our gifted media department, under Dallas Jenkins, has developed a short film to guide our reflection. Check out the trailer here. So excited.
April 09, 2014
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you . . . ” (Matthew 28:19-20a) Read More
March 31, 2014
Today we have an exciting announcement about Walk in the Word, our broadcast ministry heard on nearly 1200 radio outlets around North America. Beginning May 4, 2014, on Sunday mornings, then in addition on every weekday morning starting September 2014, Walk in the Word TV will be seen around the world on both The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and the The Church Channel (TCC). Read More