It’s hard to believe, but we are now less than four weeks away from Easter Sunday. Easter weekend has always been the biggest weekend of the year for the church I serve, which is probably why it’s also my favorite weekend of the year. I love seeing all the new families chasing their little kids all across our campus as they rush to get checked into class, grab a doughnut, and then race to find a golden egg. Hopefully, you’ve already been planning how to make this your biggest Easter ever, but if not, no worries. There’s still time to get it done. In this post I want to share with you a few ideas I’ve seen work year after year to double our attendance and make a huge kingdom impact.
- Add a service. For most churches Easter is going to be the highest attended Sunday of the year, without even doing anything. Here’s why, all the people who normally attend your church once or twice a month all show up on Easter. So, to capitalize on this, you should add another service. More services mean more opportunities for people to attend, more opportunities for people to serve, and more opportunities for people to give their lives to Christ. If you currently have one Sunday morning service, add a second. If you have two, add a third or consider doing a service on Good Friday or even Saturday. We’ve had a lot of success with doing a service on Good Friday. It’s the exact same service as Easter Sunday, which means you don’t have to prepare two messages. The reason it works so well is many families may feel obligated to attend other churches on Easter Sunday. Having a service on Friday or Saturday allows them to attend your church and still meet their family obligations on Easter Sunday.
- Have an egg hunt. Put aside your feelings about the Easter bunny and let the kids hunt eggs. Most families want to have the experience of watching their kids hunt eggs. It’s a special moment for them, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Sure, you can go elaborate and drop eggs out of a helicopter, but you don’t have to do that. For most small town churches, having an egg hunt is as simple as asking your congregation to bring in filled eggs a few weeks before Easter and asking a few volunteers to place them out in the grass. We’ve done egg hunts before and after services and even on the Saturday before Easter. My recommendation is to keep your egg hunt attached to a service. What about prizes? Glad you asked. You can spend a lot of money on prizes and possibly get more people there, but in my experience they don’t normally come back. For the past couple of years at my church, we have put out a golden egg per age group that they redeem for a $25 Toys R Us gift card.
- Do something special. You don’t want to do something completely different than what you would do on a normal Sunday, but you do want to do something special. Now, that could be a variety of things. Maybe you have an ice cream truck come and give away free ice cream to all the kids. Maybe you set up a picture booth with live bunnies. Maybe you do baptisms on that day. People loved being baptized on Easter, and it creates great energy. Maybe you sing a special song that catches everyone by surprise. For example, my church sang “Something in the Water” by Carrie Underwood during a baptism once, and people talked about it for weeks. What are one or two things you can offer that would really make Easter Sunday memorable?
- Keep the message simple, and outsider focused. Easter should be the easiest sermon you preach each year. The story doesn’t need any help. It’s amazing just like it’s written. Don’t try to get fancy, just tell the story of Christ and the resurrection. That’s enough. And tell it in a way that someone who hasn’t grown up in church can understand it. Because there is going to be a lot of those people in the audience that day. So, make sure to give an invitation for them to accept Christ as their Savior.
- Invite them back. It doesn’t matter how many people show up on Easter Sunday if they don’t come back. Make sure, as you close the sermon, you invite them back for the following week and give them a reason why they should come back. Either start an attractive series the week after Easter, or if you start a series on Easter, make sure it’s compelling enough to bring them back. You can also take advantage of this in your kids’ ministry. What if you gave each child a “coupon” to draw a toy out of the prize box that could only be redeemed in the weeks following Easter? Kids can be very persuasive when there’s a toy on the line.
These are just a few of the thoughts and ideas that I have, but I’d love to hear yours. What are your plans for Easter? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and make sure to subscribe to the blog to get my new ebook and a weekly email filled with tips on church growth, leadership, and more.