If there’s one thing we know about Easter, it’s that many senior pastors go to great lengths for increasing Easter attendance and mobilizing their congregations to get new people to attend on this day.
Many think this is a wasted attempt to pander to “Chreasters.” I completely disagree.
Increasing your Easter attendance is important, but not for reasons commonly thought. Here are four reasons why doing everything you can to increase your Easter attendance matters to the mission of your church.
1. More Than Likely, 25 percent of All Your Visitors This Year Will Come on Easter
At CCV we know that roughly 50 percent of all newcomers will come at Easter and Christmas. The rest are evenly sprinkled throughout the year. That obviously means that half, or 25 percent, of all the visitors that come to your church this year will come this Sunday. Most outreach-focused churches have similar newcomer attendance and retention figures.
2. Only 10 percent of Those Visitors Will Come Back
We also know that if 10 people visit our church, one of them will return and become a growing Christ Follower. Why is this important?
It’s important because if you are a church of, say, 150, that wants to break the 200 barrier and grow to 300, that means you will need to have how many people visit your church in order to retain an additional 150 people (growing from 150 to 300)? That’s 1,500 people. Ten percent of 1,500 first-time guests = 150 new attenders.
If you are a church of 600 that wants to grow to 1,000, you will need 4,000 people to come through your doors.
3. Wise Senior Pastors Capitalize on Cultural Attendance Patterns
If St. Patrick or John Wesley woke up in your shoes tomorrow, how would they view the opportunity afforded a congregation by the cultural propensity toward visiting church on Easter? You know the answer to that question.
Make culture work for your goals, not against them. Stop chiming in with the missional naysayers that say Sunday attendance doesn’t matter, and take advantage of the opportunity. Learn from creative churches from around the country and take some risks. Start believing in the possibility of growth and impact.
4. You Can’t Make Disciples Without New Attenders
I tell senior pastors I coach that growing your Easter attendance matters because without attending a church, people won’t start the process of becoming disciples.
I couldn’t care less about growing the attendance of your church for numbers’ sake. I care about whether or not you’re making new disciples, and you can’t make new disciples until they start participating in your faith community.
I liken our job as senior pastors to that of a Division 1 college basketball coach. Winning a conference title or national championship is great, but the #1 job of a college coach is to graduate players who go on to succeed in life. Getting to the Sweet Sixteen is a bonus.
Likewise, sure it’s great to be a part of a growing church that reaches a lot of people, but that’s not the goal in and of itself. Sometimes growth and discipleship go hand in hand, sometimes not; if for no other reason than disciples have a tendency to obey Jesus and “go.”
So go nuts this Easter getting people into your doors. Pray for holy passion for people far from God and make sure you lead the way by inviting people yourself. Speed of the leader, speed of the team.
Be unashamed in your attempts.