As Church Leaders, it’s easy to get caught up in executing events and programs and forget why we do things. But the significant moments of the Christian year are essential reminders of our “why” and “how.”

This might seem obvious with Christmas: Jesus’ incarnation calls us to represent the Gospel in fresh, contextual ways. Holy Week also provides five reminders about practicing contextual mission:

Five Opportunities During Holy Week

Palm Sunday: Modest Service

Jesus’ modest donkey ride is a stark contrast to his contemporaries, the Roman military leaders on their war horses. Palm Sunday reminds us that a church on mission can make a significant impact, but it comes through humble service to our neighbors.

Reminder: What needs does your community have that are not being addressed? How can you serve your neighbors in ways that display humility?

Maundy Thursday: Discipleship with Food and Feet

Maundy Thursday celebrations remember Jesus’ final meal before his death and the washing of his disciples’ feet. In the Gospel of John, this meal is the setting for dense theological teaching and the visceral example of foot washing.

Reminder: Does your approach to discipleship gather people in natural ways, like a meal? Like Jesus, does it begin with profound teaching? Does it engage bodies with tangible acts?

Good Friday: Proclaiming Christ’s Kingship

At his crucifixion, Jesus wore a crown of thorns and hung under a sign that read “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” What was meant to mock is now seen by his followers as a signal of his coronation.

Reminder: Proclaiming Jesus as King can feel uncomfortable in our increasingly post-Christian society. Discomfort can lead some to avoid and others to overpower. Instead, Jesus-followers today can explore bold yet creative ways to demonstrate their allegiance.

Holy Saturday: Mourning Time

In Scripture and liturgical practice, the day of Jesus’ death is given the least fanfare. Facing uncertainty and deeply mourning, it appears that the disciples scattered or holed up until Sunday.

Reminder: Our technology-addled world, filled with movement and noise, makes little space for individuals to face the pain present in their lives. Jesus-followers doing contextual mission have the opportunity to model and create opportunities to experience quiet, process difficult emotions, and mourn our losses.

Resurrection Sunday: Always Celebrate New Life

Easter Sunday is the reminder that for Jesus-followers, death ends in resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection body is a promise that our world will experience new creation. This core belief of Christians can get lost in the noise, pain, and even the mundanity of life.

Reminder: A contextual mission always seeks opportunities to celebrate new life. Do not forget the obvious examples of births and baptisms, providing both welcome and practical care. Be on the lookout for signs of new life, whether it be in Spring flowers, restored relationships, or new ventures.

Take a Moment

With Holy Week upon us, be careful not to get bogged down in the work of preparing services and egg hunts. Take a moment to prayerfully look at your contexts, your life, your congregation, and your community, and consider what opportunities are at hand.

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Chris Morton
About the Author

Chris Morton

Chris is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Communications, working across the organization to help get new projects off the ground and into the world. He guides our online publishing, email, social media and other digital communications. Chris helped plant Austin Mustard Seed, serving for five years as Community Developer. He also works with several other non-profits and businesses to tell their story with content and social media. A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary's M.A. in Global Leadership, Chris lives in Austin, Texas with Laura, Micah, Phoebe and Dot.