Easter is coming! And it’s a busy season for churches.
It’s easy to make mistakes when you feel overwhelmed with all the extra work and preparation.
To help you make this Easter the best yet, here are five of the common mistakes I see pastors make on Easter.
1. NOT PREACHING WITH URGENCY
Do you feel a sense of urgency about Easter? Do you feel the weight of responsibility to make the most of every second you have?
You may only have one shot to introduce someone to Jesus. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you’ll get another chance.
Some guests may not come back. They’re not guaranteed to live to see another Easter. Even you, yourself, are not guaranteed to live to see another Easter. In fact, Jesus could come back any moment.
This could be it! Will you seize the moment?
In the early church, the disciples operated under the assumption that Jesus could come back at any moment. Because of this, they preached with a sense of urgency. They knew that they might never have another chance to reach people with the good news of Jesus.
We should all live with the same sense of urgency for sharing the Gospel before it’s too late.
Heaven and hell literally hang in the balance.
2. OVERCOMPLICATING THE MESSAGE
Too many Easter sermons are a boring list of bullet points or an ancient history lesson.
Don’t complicate things. Preach the simple, life-changing story of Jesus’ resurrection and the what it means for us.
Follow the KISS method—Keep It Simple Stupid!
Have one simple, clear message that you need to communicate, and preach it with everything you’ve got.
If my 5-year-old can understand the story, anyone can. There’s no need to make it more difficult than that.
Be direct. Stick to the point. Don’t ramble. And lock on to the simple truth of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
3. NOT CALLING THE AUDIENCE TO ACTION
OK, so you deliver a great sermon…now what?
What do you want the people sitting in front of you to do with what you just told them?
Many pastors dispense a lot of information and forget to ask anyone to do anything with it.
Information without application never brings transformation.
So be specific. Don’t assume that people will know what to do. What exactly would you like them to do?
Tell them what you want them to do. Then, dare them to do it.
Warn them of the risk of what their life might become if they don’t do it, and then paint a picture of what life could be like if they take that brave, next step.
If the goal of your message is for people to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, what should that look like?
How do they begin? What action should they take?
Do you want them to come forward, stand, repeat a prayer, fill out a card, meet with a pastor or something else?
This might sound harsh, but it’s true: If people rarely respond to your sermons, maybe it’s because you never asked them to.
Be clear, direct and unapologetic with what God wants people to do.
4. ASSUMING PEOPLE WILL COME
Don’t assume people will show up just because it’s Easter. Perhaps that was more likely in the past, but times are changing.
People don’t feel obligated to go to church on Easter like they used to. They have thousands of other options fighting for their attention.
Yes, more people are likely to attend a church service on Easter than most other weekends. But don’t fall into a safe sense of security in thinking that people will automatically show up without any work on your part.
God alone brings the harvest, but he asks us to prepare the fields (1 Cor 3:6-9).
So how will you plant seeds and prepare the field?
Are you budgeting money for advertising and outreach?
Are you challenging your congregation to invite others? And, this is important, are you teaching them how?
Most importantly, who are you inviting?
Don’t assume people will come to your church just because you unlock the doors on Easter. Your whole church has got to put in the work of planting and watering seeds.
5. NO FOLLOW-UP PLAN
New people showed up. Hurray! But now what?
What’s your plan to follow-up with them? How do you plan to encourage them to come back?
Lots of churches put all their eggs in the Easter Sunday basket with no plan for the week after.
Will you call them? Will you send them a letter or email? Will you promote a new series that interests them?
And think about this: If the Holy Spirit moves and 10, 25 or even 100 people make the decision to give their lives to Jesus, are you ready for it?
It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but you need a strategy. You need a plan and people in place to help connect these new guests and new believers to your church.
Well, those are five mistakes that I’ve noticed. What have I missed? What other mistakes do pastors make on Easter?
This article originally appeared here.