It’s the week after Easter and I’m reflecting a bit on our reflective prayer walk – “Journey To The Cross”. If you haven’t had a chance – you can check out the stations and the walk through videos on this post – this post will make more sense if you read the previous one.
Here’s a bit about the process and what I learned about doing stations of the cross and creating worship spaces.
When I talked to people after, it seemed everyone connected with a different station. It’s clear that having a variety of stations with a variety of interactive elements made sure to connect with the widest group of people possible.
We tried really hard at each station to focus on one thing and do it really well. When Peter denies Christ we had a chalkboard for people to write “I do not know the man” for all the times they have denied Christ in their actions, words, or non-action. The simplicity of this station worked great. Yes we could have created a fireside scene, and had a rooster crowing, and ___________ – but it seemed the simplicity let people focus on what they needed to focus on.
People really connected with using the sense of sound, touch, and sight. Holding the rock throughout – using water on their hands – hearing the whip – etc. All of those things helped people feel more immersed in the story.
We had people hold the rock throughout the walk as a symbol of their sin and let go at the end. I think this helped people feel they had a continuous thread throughout the walk.
Use of Space
We discovered as we planned that the rooms we used all had two doors. This is quite rare and unique to our church most likely – but it allowed us to create a walk through event where you never had to turn around and backtrack. This helped us avoid people entering and leaving a room at the same time and running into each other.
For our garden scene when Jesus prays I was tempted to work really hard at bringing in plants and making the room feel like a garden. However – I realized my best efforts were going to be mediocre at best. We only had a handful of plants and it would end up looking like, well, a handful of plants. So I gave up – and focused on the prayer aspect of the garden vs the plant aspect. We did end up putting a plant on the table and a few on the side but the emphasis of the station was kneeling, praying, and seeing the drops of blood on the paper.
What I liked about this kind of event is that it doesn’t allow people to come and be spectators. The interactive part forced you to engage the story. So unlike a typical Good Friday service – where people might come and sing on auto pilot or zone out – this kind of event really helped people participate in the story.
For this stations of the cross event we had our church open for four hours. We had about 100 people go through this event – which averages about 25 per hour. We had on average a two minute gap between participants, which was enough to give people a sense of privacy and personal reflection without them feeling completely alone. We did make sure that each station could facilitate three or four people at once in case there was a large influx of people and that worked really well. The spots that were the most challenging were the videos – since you need people to be able to stand their for a set amount of time. We were able to use a 6 minute video in one room by having five computers setup with headphones, so up to five people could watch at once. The final video (3 minutes) we had in a room and simply looped it – our expectation was that people would wait till it restarted and then sit and watch it.
All in all this event turned out really well. Looking forward to doing similar events or repeating this next year.