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Why Your Easter Service Shouldn't Be Anything Special

Editor’s Note: We believe that Easter is an extremely valuable opportunity to worship and to invite unchurched people to discover the truth of the resurrection and new life in Christ. This article explores an issue that pastors wrestle with every year—should the Easter service look different from every other Sunday? Is making Easter into a big event at your church the right way to go? We invite you to share your insights and thoughtful comments below.

Most church people know that the two times a year new people often come to church are on Easter and Christmas Eve. We also know that the number of folks that actually come BACK or develop a meaningful relationship with the church from those worship experiences is pretty low. So frustrating.

Don’t they like us? I mean really, we bust out the real dishes for coffee hour and everything. Come on people, give us a chance…

As we approach Easter, let me offer an idea why about this happens and make a case for what we might do to change this reality.

Basically, I think we give an inordinate about of attention to our Easter service.  

Yes, Easter is an important celebration in the life of the church and, yes, God is certainly is pleased when we worship and give thanks in God’s name. But…I kind of think that God may simply be humoring us in our misguided attempt to throw an Easter party for God.

I am sure God enjoys pageants and brass as much as anyone, and I am sure God is grateful for those folks who do take the time to connect to the church even once a year, if only out of familial obligation. But I would posit that God might be more pleased if we approached this Easter time in our worship life a little differently.

I am not talking about taking away the men’s breakfast or canceling the Easter egg hunt…as I would never encourage anyone to invite the wrath of a disappointed, empty-basket-holding toddler. Some of the special things that we do around this time are just lovely.  

What I would challenge us to think about is doing something radically different for our Easter worship services by not really doing anything radically different for our Easter worship service.

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A native Northern Californian and 3rd generation Chinese/Filipino, Bruce has lived in San Francisco since 1998. From 2000-2011 he was the founding pastor of a 20/30-something church in SF and in 2008 was elected Moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). He now makes his way as a writer, speaker and social media consultant and is part of the a team launching a new church that will meet online.