Once a year, we have an unprecedented opportunity to make Easter special and welcome some in our communities who would not normally attend church. I want to give you some things to consider as we move toward the final planning stages for Easter weekend.
1. Plan for Easter to Be a Great Success
If you do not plan for success, it will not happen. What is success? You will have to pray about and define what you believe success looks like in your church. For us at Cross Church, success for Easter weekend looks like:
• God is present with us in great power
• Increased numbers of people present that exceed a regular Sunday
• People hear the gospel and place faith in Christ alone for salvation
• Extra services so more people have the opportunity to hear the Gospel
• Members and guests have a fabulous experience at Cross Church
The last several years we have had a major Passion Week emphasis each day leading up to Easter Weekend. Since our spring break occurs at the same time as Passion Week this year, we have decided not to do our Passion Week emphasis and will do other things to accelerate forward.
On a normal Sunday, we have eleven services on our five campuses. This Easter weekend, we will have 16 services on our five campuses, offering Saturday services on three campuses.
We are saturating our community with the invitation to join us Easter weekend in several different ways. Our Communications Team has given us the tools to invite through social networking, newspapers, door hangers and invitation cards our members can share with their friends.
Pastor, plan for success.
2. Let Your Church Become Their Church on Easter Sunday
It is critical that you have a big, welcoming spirit from the pulpit and by the people of the church leading up to Easter weekend. About two decades ago, God put this phrase in my heart and we have used it almost annually: Let our church be your church this Easter Sunday.
Many people do not have a church family or a church home. Therefore, do all you can to demonstrate this big, welcoming spirit as pastor and challenge your people to resound it all over your community and region: Let our church be your church this Easter Sunday.
Take care not to make guests feel unwelcome by joking about some who may only come to church on or around Easter. A cynical spirit from the pulpit or in your people regarding guests is not productive. If we truly want to reach our community and region for Christ, we must welcome guests regardless of when they attend.
3. Preach the Gospel and Sing Recognizable Songs
Pastor, preach the Word of God and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unashamedly, call people to a relationship with Jesus Christ. Do not soft-sell in order to relate to the unchurched. Be who you are and proclaim the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ.
Attempt to sing at least one song that people who rarely or have never attended church may recognize. Possibly “Amazing Grace,” “How Great Thou Art,” “It Is Well With My Soul,” or something similar. You want them to experience your church and mostly, the presence of God.
Finally, pray like it matters. Lead your church to pray for a mighty and successful weekend. Saturate Easter with prayer.