Summary: The following Good Friday service is developed around the theme “Were You There?” to help all identify with being a part of the events of Christ’s sacrifice.
Were You There?
Good Friday Service
Written by Brad Bailey
The following Good Friday service is developed around the theme “Were You There?” to help all
identify with being a part of the events of Christ’s sacrifice.
Below is a full version of the service including four reflections from characters involved. They each
enter the stage at their respective times. They can use costumes that are easily found at a costume
rental store but simple symbolic clothing could be used as well.
If interested one may also get the following from the Westside Vineyard office: PowerPoint for
service, video piece of Isaiah text, and bulletin outlines. Feel free to adapt in any way for any
purpose… but please maintain appropriate credit for writing.
A/V – Service is designed to be a bit more dramatic in style.
Pre-service - Begins with house lights a bit more dim than usual. Stage dark. Screen lower to
allow larger images
• Pre-Service Multimedia Loop (Can use any cross related loops or video pieces… along with
PowerPoint slides announcing Easter services and other information.)
Opening songs (AV - Keep band minimally lit… able to see them lightly but not brightly)
• Beautiful Scandalous Night (The Choir)
• Were You There (Old Spiritual) – 1st verse - Were you there when they crucified my
Welcome to this evening of engaging the most tragic and transforming events in human history.
Tonight we engage the question we just sang... “Were You There?”
The famous Dutch painter painted many events in life… but when he painted the events of God…
he sometimes painted himself into the picture. He painted himself as the Prodigal Son, squandering
money in the taverns with his wife, whom he depicted as a prostitute. In The Raising of the Cross,
he painted himself as one of those who was there…he even kept himself in his modern clothes to
emphasize his personal involvement in the crucifixion.
Tonight we to are invited to find ourselves there.
Prayer: God… Open our hearts tonight… let us discover afresh that we are a part of your story… in
those who fail as well and those in their failure… who receive the most profound mercy and love.
AV - Lights dim to darkness…
Isaiah 53:3-6 on screen
To emphasize the plural responsibility of the suffering of Christ, the following text can be placed on
the screen with words capitalized as shown below. We created a Flash Media piece in which those
words slowly emerge forward… and then converted to a video format with music. Less than one
minute in length.
Isaiah 53:3-6 (NLT)
“He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned OUR
BACKS on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and WE did not care. Yet it was OUR
WEAKNESS he carried; it was OUR SORROWS that weighed him down. And WE thought his
troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for OUR
REBELLION, crushed for OUR SINS. He was beaten so WE could be whole. He was whipped so
WE could be healed. ALL OF US, like sheep, have strayed away. WE have left God’s paths to
follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us ALL.
Begin a progression of series of reflections that come with verse of “Were You There?”, then
Scriptural text read from front off stage, then related character emerging on stage reflecting on their
part in being there, each ending… “Yes I was there. Weren’t we all?”…followed by one minute of
AV - Throughout each series below:
• Scripture Reader will read from center floor in front of stage. Desire is enough light to note him
but limit spreading onto stage… which should be as dark as possible.
• Character Reflections: Characters should enter from edge of stage curtain… alternating sides and
taking place on the same side of stage. Each will have a clip on wireless microphone or each side
should have one to share. If only one available, one can easily be shared between all for but they
will need to physically return to location of next character to transfer.
• Band / Singers leading transitional verses of “Were You There?” should remain minimally seen
between verses (seated or moved out of site as needed.) Lit lightly not brightly during singing of
1. “Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?”
Transitional Verse Of “Were You There?”: “Were you there when they nailed him to the
tree?.” (2nd verse of standard song)
Luke 23:44-46 (NIV)
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 for