Easter is the most important day on the church calendar. Not only is it the day Jesus won the victory over death, it’s the day more people become Christians than any other. I want to take full advantage of this once-a-year opportunity. So every year at this time, New Song begins what we call our “ramp-up for Easter.”
1. Launch a new series.
We start by developing the series we want to launch on Easter. For years, I preached a resurrection message and invited people to return for a new series the following week. But CEO’s (“Christmas and Easter Only”) rarely come to church thinking they’ll return anytime soon, so we want to double their incentive by giving them the first helping of what they’ll receive if they come back.
Yes, I’ll explain the resurrection. Yes, I’ll invite people to receive Christ that day. But this year, I’ll be doing it in the midst of a message on Heaven Is For Real. Todd Burpo has a best-selling book by that title, so people are interested in it. During the four weeks post-Easter, I’ll preach on what heaven will be like and explain how to get there.
2. Give a free book.
Lots of unchurched people think of the church as stingy and irrelevant. I want to break that perception, so every year we give first time guests a free book. In the past, we’ve given gift editions of a book I wrote a few years ago called The God Questions. I’ll still offer that book from upfront to anyone who has questions about God, but in our advertisements, we’re offering a copy of Burpo’s book, which guests can pick up at our bookstore.
Giving the free gift not only exceeds people’s expectations, it enables us to gather contact information so we can thank them for coming and invite them back.
3. An e-mail note.
In a church our size, it’s easy for guests to feel lost in the crowd. On the day after Easter, I’m going to email them all, asking if there is anything we can pray for. I want guests to know that the church is more than a building they can come to; it’s a family they can belong to. Every guest who responds will be prayed for by our staff on Tuesday morning.
4. A hand-written note.
As the e-mails go out, I’ll also be hand-writing notes. I want every guest to know that the church is about relationships, not just programs, and that the pastor took time to write them personally. By the time I’m through, my hand will be cramped, and I’ll wonder if it was worth it. The note will give me a chance to ministry personally. While I’m writing, I will pray for each guest by name.