If you’re a pastor in a small community, chances are no one is really doing anything significant for Easter. Aside from the same resurrection drama or Easter Play that’s done with really bad acting and even worse singing, Easter is primarily planned for those who attend that church. But what if I told you that you have the opportunity to reach people in your community that no one else is reaching? All it takes is something that many churches aren’t willing to do, and that is preparation and excellence.
Here are five reasons why preparing for Easter is Vital for your church:
- Chances Are That No Other Church is Doing It
I went to high school in a town of just over 2,000 people. We had one fast food restaurant at the time: Hardee’s. Everyone and their mama (literally, everyone and their mama) ate at Hardee’s. It was the hottest spot in town. Even as a teenager, it was the hot spot to cruise around on the weekends. That was until the day they brought in a Sonic. Things quickly changed, and Sonic became the hottest spot in town. (I know, I know. You’re already jealous of my awesome high school days.)
The point is, when you’re the only church offering the greatest first impressions, kids ministry, and worship experience in town, everyone will want to come to your church. You can either mimic what everyone else is already doing in your community, or you can take Easter to a whole other level. I promise that if you do, you’ll not only have the largest attended Easter service your church has ever experienced, but you’ll become a place that your community desperately needs.
- Everyone is Open to the Idea of Visiting a Church on Easter
Easter is always our highest attended Sunday of the year. The greatest thing you can do for your church is make Easter a huge deal evangelistically. You can even preach a three to four week sermon series leading up to Easter about evangelism and challenge the church to invite lost people or the un-churched person to one of your Easter services. Teaching your church to become outward focused in their invites will also increase new visitors throughout the year. But make sure your congregation understands the importance of inviting people who don’t already attend church somewhere. Being an evangelistic focused church will bring criticism in a small community for “stealing sheep”. The best way to combat that criticism is to tell your church from the stage to focus on those who don’t attend church. Show them statistics on inviting people to church, teach on the Great Commission, and even host baptism services during or after Easter. Make it a huge time of the year for your church.
- There Are Broken Families in Your Community
One of the greatest ways to get families in your church is offering something dynamic for the kids in the community during Easter. If your kid loves church, the chances are much higher that you end up attending with them. We challenge our children and students to make invites as well for Easter. You would be surprised at how many families show up for one of your Easter services because of their child being invited by someone at school. Most young families don’t feel comfortable visiting an established church. They either grew up in church or had some sort of experience that drove them away as adults. There are so many opportunities to show these families that your church is a place that focuses on the entire family.
- Most Rural Churches Are Dying
How are you bringing in new families and the future leaders of your church? Easter is one of several opportunities throughout the year that you have to bring in new people. Will you retain all of these people that show up to your Easter services? No, you won’t. But you may gain a few new families. You may even gain just one new family. But just think, if you had four or five big days a year that you focused on bringing in new people and kept one family each time, you are already growing faster in a year than most rural churches. That’s why preparing for Easter is vital for your church…your future depends on it.
- God is a Planner and We Should Be As Well
God had a plan before He even created the world to redeem us from our sin. Before Adam sinned, before you were born, He already formed a plan to save us. He is currently planning out our eternity. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. We can’t imagine what God has prepared for those who love the Lord. All through scripture, we see that God is a well thought out planner. He plans with excellence and, most importantly, with people in mind. We should be a reflection of who God is here on earth. We should plan with excellence and with people in mind.
If you’ve never planned a huge Easter weekend, here are a few quick tips when preparing for one of the largest weekends of the year at your church:
– Plan Easter around the kids, and the parents will follow.
– Offer multiple service times. Maybe even offer a Saturday night service.
– Do large egg hunts (with PLENTY of candy and prizes) or some sort of kid themed weekend for the entire family to be involved.
– Have volunteers in your church sign up weeks before Easter to have plenty of people serving. This is also a great opportunity to get new people involved in your church if they aren’t already.
– Prepare a stage and lighting design that is excellent and dynamic.
– Keep the service no longer than an hour to offer time for family involvement (egg hunts, etc.).
– Plan powerful worship music and videos within the service. This means having your best vocalists and musicians. People won’t stay long where the music is bad.
– Create invite cards (with excellent graphics; contract it out if you have to) to your church to hand out at least four weeks before Easter.
– Use promotional material such as mailers, social media blasts, and local outreaches to promote your big weekend.
– Have a plan for when guests come back after Easter. Make sure to have a felt needs sermon series and possibly baptisms to bring people back.
– Have a plan for following up with those who receive Christ that weekend. Have Bibles and people ready to pray and make phone calls.
These are just a few staples that go in to making Easter something spectacular for your church and for the community. Even if you start with a few of these, you’ll begin to change the culture of how your church approaches Easter each year.
You have the greatest opportunity to reach people who are far from God this Easter. It’s not only vital for the un-churched in your community…it’s vital for the life of your church.
Brandon Petty. Follower of Jesus, Husband to Jessica, and proud daddy to Launa, Mya, and Truett. I enjoy playing basketball and weight lifting. Pastor of Generation Church, which quickly grew to over 600 people in a few short years after starting in 2012. I am absolutely passionate about encouraging leaders and investing in others. I also coach church planters and love to speak to the next generation. If you would like to know more about me please visit me at brandonpetty.org