Making Easter A Comeback

Making Easter a Comeback
By Gary Moritz
Photo: Priscilla Du Preez

According to the National Retail Federation, "80 percent of Americans celebrate Easter and will spend an average of $21 per person on sweets such as chocolate, jellybeans, and more." This tells us that most people are thinking about Easter and what they will be doing on that weekend. The question is, are these people willing to walk through your church doors on Easter? If not, why not? Now is the time to ask these questions.

For years there has been controversy in the church surrounding Easter. Do we celebrate the name "Easter”, or should it be called "Resurrection Sunday"? Do we have egg hunts, do we not have egg hunts, do we give out candy, do we not? The list goes on. Regardless of how you feel about the word Easter, people are thinking about church and spiritual things during this time of year. People in your community may be looking for a church to attend on Easter weekend, and the question is are you ready to receive and engage them.

Some people get excited about Christmas, but I love Easter! As kids, all my cousins would go over to Gramma Helen's house, and every one of us would get a gift basket of candy for Easter. We would all play outside and eat our candy together. It was a special day for me and my family, but I did not understand the true meaning of the holiday. Many people are like I was, they focus on the commercial side of Easter and not the spiritual side. They think it's all about the candy and maybe going over to a family member’s house. While I would not trade those memories for anything, I think about how much more would I have enjoyed Easter if I had understood that the purpose of it was to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It’s about more than just the candy.

There are people in your community just like I was who need to hear about Jesus and the power of His resurrection. People have been locked up, locked down, and isolated for so long, and Easter is the time to resurrect community and provide them with the hope that only Jesus can give. The hope of the resurrection of Jesus is life-giving. I tell my staff that Easter weekend is our Super Bowl. It’s the big weekend of the year that we plan and prepare for new people to walk through our doors. It’s game day without all the terrible commercials. We train and prepare well to engage people at Easter.

In a recent poll I conducted on a webinar, I asked the question, “How optimistic are you about Easter at your church?” I was encouraged to see that most participants were optimistic about Easter weekend in their church. You and your church can have a great Easter. As you pray, plan, and prepare, focus on these 6 things as you move towards E.A.S.T.E.R.

  • Expect a Great Easter 

    If the Pastor is not excited about Easter, no one else will be either. The mood of the leader is the mood of the team. If you are not excited and pumped about Easter, do not expect anyone else to be. Let your excitement about Easter weekend become contagious. Start talking about Easter now and start getting your church excited about investing in and inviting people to Easter weekend at your church. Then start praying for what you want to see happen. Pray for new people to walk through your doors. Pray for the people in your church to invite their family and friends to attend a service with them. Pray for more people to get involved in serving and leading teams in the church, and most importantly, pray for salvations and life change to happen. Then plan in faith that God will accomplish it. Expect great things to happen on Easter.

  • Affirm a Follow-Up Plan

What you pray for is what you need to be prepared for. We call this faith. You prepare for what you know will happen. Raise the evangelism bar and emphasize personal responsibility to share Jesus with others. Challenge your people to each reach one person. If each person in your church brings one person to Easter, you will double on Easter. It’s important to be ready for the new people that walk through your doors by affirming a follow-up plan. Make sure you have a clear plan for how you will engage the new guests that come to your church. Have a special gift ready for first-time guests and provide a way for them to give you their contact information while they are on your campus. You can follow up with them through thank you cards, emails, text, letters, phone calls, and small gifts. Whatever you decide to do, be ready before Easter to implement the follow-up plan well.

  • Start a New Topic for Onboarding New People

One of the ways to attract people to come back to church is through a new and relevant teaching series or collection of messages that you can kick off on Easter.  Start praying about what God would have you talk about on Easter. Strive to give your people something from God's Word that is practical and that will help them on Monday and not just Sunday. Start a new sermon collection that's practical to help hurting people. Maybe it's a series about money, marriage, parenting, or raising kids in a tough season. You can still find ways to incorporate the power of the resurrection and what Easter is all about into a topic that will resonate with people and encourage them to return the next Sunday. Ask people to commit to attending for the entire series whether it’s four, five, or six weeks. If you can get a first-time guest to attend church for four to six weeks, the likelihood of them becoming a regular attender increases.  
  • Team Build with the People in Your Church

Get the people of your church excited about helping you make Easter a great comeback event. Encourage them to serve for some part of your Easter services. Emphasize that Easter is an evangelistic opportunity for them to engage with first-time guests and people who may not know anything about Jesus. Set up a team for hospitality, parking, and greeting. Have people at the doors of the church that just smile, direct, and welcome people with high fives and fist bumps as they arrive. You will want to assign someone to greet your first-time guests so that they feel important and cared for. Getting your people engaged in serving and making Easter great will build excitement.

  • Engage with Connection Points

Right now, people do not need another sermon, they need a hug. We have evolved into a high-tech, low-touch society, which is why connection is so important right now.  Having a greeting or first impressions team on Easter whose sole purpose is to connect and talk with the people that attend your services is one of the most important parts of your Easter weekend. Train them on what to say and how to direct people. Emphasize the power of people connecting with people. Connecting with everyone personally can be hard on Easter, but you can still give people a voice and connect with them through a simple paper or digital connection card that everyone that comes to your Easter services fills out. Capture their basic information but then ask them a few questions. Have them take a quick spiritual survey or ask them how you can pray for them. You can also ask them what their biggest obstacle or struggle they are facing right now or if they have any immediate needs. Then be prepared to follow up with them on some actions that you and the church may be able to take to help them.

You can also provide connection and comeback events after Easter for people to experience with you and your church to provide connection, community, and opportunities for people to make new friends.

  • Remember the Power of the Resurrection

Easter is all about power and revitalization. The same power that resurrected Jesus is the same power that can change and revitalize your church, your people, and the new people walking through your doors. On Easter, leave people with the sense that Jesus is everything and that God is generous and loving. God gives us eternal life through His resurrected Son. Expect God to do amazing things this Easter season. Pray for and anticipate life change, people giving their lives to Jesus for the first time and deciding to take their next steps with Him. Celebrate the life-changing power of the Gospel and pray for baptisms and for families to be restored.

Easter can be a great comeback event for your church. Start praying, planning, and preparing for a great Easter and then expect God to work in a big way.

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