All can feel part of Palm Sunday at the call to worship by starting in the Narthex handing out palms and as the music plays. Don’t let them file into their pews as usual. Not allowing the normal entry and comfort seating interrupts the habit and rote worshipers creating a sense of alertness to the specialness of the day. Create a special a multi-age Palm Sunday choir that starts the procession into the Sanctuary and the clergy bring up the end of the processional. As the pastor begins the worship explaining the importance of the Palm as each congregate holds it in their hand. Some churches already do this with a few members or just the choir, but I recommend making it all-inclusive as a symbolic way of “walking into Holy Week” as a congregation just as Jesus knew what he was walking into that day.
Take a look at a photo from Lakewood U.M.C.’s Maundy Thursday (above picture) service last year. Lakewood’s Youth Minister Kat Caserta had her junior high youth lead the worship with a Living Last Supper. They used costumes, set up a Seder meal, and washed feet. They learned Holy Communion, the Lord’s Prayer and learned why the washing of feet teaches us to serve others in a way that creates lasting understanding for the kids who led. Kat reported to me, “This year, we're doing it again in our sanctuary and making it more of a blended service with the rest of the congregation. The action will be a big part of the worship service. The youth and children will continue to be a big part of it.” It was so well received they are continuing to lead Holy Week worship.
Two years ago, Reverend Bill Sardin and Children’s Minister Michelle Wilkins at FUMC Hot Springs, incorporated multi-generational readers, shadow mimes, and object bags to tell the Good Friday story. All who attended worship could feel and touch the story because volunteers made small bags with a thorn, a die, a sponge, a cross and a nail that the congregation members could hold and look at as the scripture was being read. Church members had visuals, tactical objects, and the spoken word of the Gospel as they were taught the Good Friday story. It was the largest multi-generational Good Friday worship the church had experienced in several years.(promotion picture from this event below)