For most churches, Easter is the biggest Sunday of the year. It is an occasion to celebrate the resurrection victory of Jesus Christ over Satan, sin, death, hell, and the wrath of God while also seeing lost sheep return home and lost people become Christians. For some preachers, though, it is a difficult time because they struggle with the weight and pressure of preaching an Easter sermon in fresh ways year after year. Having now preached on every Easter at Mars Hill Church since 1996, I relate, and I would like to offer the following six preaching tips for Easter in hopes of serving those who serve others by preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1. Keep your Easter message short.
It is very difficult to get children’s workers on Easter because so many of your key people want to bring family, friends, and coworkers to church and then go enjoy brunch or some special time together. So it is wise to do the Easter service “family style” with no childcare. This gives your kids’ workers a day off, allows you to turn services around more quickly (as Easter requires multiple services for many churches), and also allows the service to be uniquely fun.
For little kids, perhaps some crayons and coloring sheets as gifts would be helpful. Let the parents know in advance that the service will be short, that some noise from the kids is welcome—indeed, the sound of children is a good sign of God’s grace and the church’s future—and that there will be lots of singing and celebration that the kids will enjoy. So keep your Easter sermon short.
2. Keep your Easter message simple.
Easter is not a time to get fancy. The goal of the Easter sermon is not to impress your people with your oratory skills, your Greek syntax expertise, or your clever cultural insight. Easter is a time to boldly, loudly, passionately, gladly, and publicly proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ! So keep your Easter sermon simple. Hearing the good news of Jesus is something your people will delight in if the Holy Spirit resides in them, so make it plain. They know you will tell them Jesus is alive, they are coming to hear it, and it sounds good every time, much like a wife whose husband often tells her he loves her and is devoted to her—she never tires of hearing it and rejoices every time.