I have been concerned lately that pastors and church leaders are putting very little evangelistic energy into their Easter Services. Here are a few reasons we are hearing:
“All our key people go on vacation at that time.”
“We don't want to be an attractional church.”
“We are have staffing issues and can’t handle a big workload right now.”
“We have not had fruitful Easter outreaches in the past.”
While all of those things may be true, I believe there are important reasons to consider leveraging Easter as an opportunity for kingdom growth:
1. Leaders should leverage the cultural opportunities to proclaim the truth of Easter.
Though I believe every Sunday is a resurrection celebration, when the majority of our culture accepts Easter as a religious holiday we should leverage the opportunity to proclaim the gospel in power and clarity.
Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, wrote, "Easter and Christmas are the most revered worship observances of the Christian faith. The crux of the gospel is not just that Jesus came to earth in human form, which we celebrate at Christmas, but that He lived a sinless life and was crucified in the place of mankind. God's acceptance of this payment for sin is seen in Him raising Jesus from the dead. This is what makes Easter so significant. Yet, surprisingly, many who call themselves Christian have no intention of going to Easter services." (Italics mine.)
If we pastors don't take steps to teach about the significance of these specials days both spiritually and evangelically, we are giving in to culture and are not edifying the church. Remember, good edification will lead to effective evangelism.
Why not write a personal letter to everyone on your mailing list … encouraging them on the importance of Easter? See Sample.
2. Leaders replace excuses with faith.
Excuse: “All our key people go on vacation at that time.”
Response: This is a great time to raise up new leaders. Even if many of your people go on vacation, remember you are trying to reach the people not yet in your church.
Excuse: “We don't want to be an attractional church.”
Response: Every church is attractional if it has a central gathering or building, so we will embrace it and do our best. Easter is about being attractional one Sunday of the year, not about changing your mission philosophy.
Excuse: “We are have staffing issues and don’t have the manpower.”
Response: We will always have issues and problems, but leaders do not let problems distract them from reaching their community.
Excuse: “We have not had fruitful Easter outreaches in the past.”
Response: We are going to figure this out and not settle for unfruitfulness. (See one pastor's testimony)
There are many testimonials to the effectiveness of Easter outreach. Here are a few:
One pastor who intentionally leveraged Easter for 13 years told me he saw his attendance double every Easter Sunday, and then experienced 20 percent retention. That meant 20 percent growth from just one weekend a year.
I met with another pastor this week who said "We do everything we can to leverage Easter from focused prayer projects to 30 days for prayer and fasting. We develop personal invites, we use direct mail, we use yard signs, we send out press releases—this is the Super Bowl of Christianity."
My personal testimony is that our church grew 10 years straight because we chose to leverage Easter.
3. Leaders do whatever it takes to reach their community.
Leaders have a burden not just for their church but for their community. Does your heart break for the lost in your area? Or is your heart hardened by spiritual defeat and ineffectiveness? Are you willing to pray this missional prayer: “Father, break my heart for the world you are seeking to save.”
Finally, some of you are asking, is it too late? No, go for it! Start today! God is reaching your community with His great love. There is a great redemptive flow happening all around us. Will your and your church be a part of it or just sit there and watch it go by you?
Scott McConnell offers these words of encouragement: "Easter is the greatest celebration of the Christian faith. The extra excitement and higher attendance intrigues many who do not attend regularly. As one in five Americans keep their options open, Christians have no reason to be shy about asking friends to join them for an Easter service."
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