Here are 12 things we church leaders do on Easter Sunday that undermine our effectiveness in reaching people for the Lord Jesus:
1. Fuss at those who come.
“Well, good morning! We would like to welcome those of you we’ve not seen since Christmas! Hope you had a good winter!”
2. Put on a “dog and pony show” instead of preaching the gospel.
Never forget that what we use to attract people to our church will be required to keep them. So, if we put on a spectacular to get people in but follow it with our normal run-of-the-mill uninspired preaching/singing/etc., we are doing no one any good.
3. Use cantatas.
For reasons I don’t quite understand, some churches will forego the usual service on Easter Sunday and give the choir the entire hour for their program. This is the day to open Scripture and read it (thoughtfully, reverently!) and preach its message.
4. Do nothing.
Business as usual (translation: boring) on this greatest of all days on the Christian calendar.
5. Make it about eggs and bunnies.
6. Bring in a guest speaker.
Assuming your church will have visitors on Easter, they need to see the home team at work. That way, they will be able to decide if they want to return next Sunday.
7. Fail to get a record of all who attended.
It’s not enough to get a head count. You want the names and addresses—all contact information—on every newcomer.
(I suggest to ministers who welcome visitors from the pulpit not to tell guests that "someone will be contacting you” as a result of filling out that card. Some will not want a contact, and you’ve just warned them away from telling you who they are. Furthermore, what if your church doesn’t get around to contacting them at all? You’ve misrepresented this in their minds, and those who were wanting a contact will be disappointed.)
8. Vary your preaching approach too much.
Again—repeating number 2 above—whatever you do to attract people, they will expect you to continue when they return. Just preach the word, pastor, and do your best!
Even though the New Testament’s account of the resurrection fills a good portion of the four Gospels and even though this doctrine is prominent throughout the epistles, this is no time to try to teach it all in one session.
Remember the adage: “Never serve your company an untried recipe.” (Ask any wife!)
9. Go ga-ga over women’s hats and children’s Easter outfits.
A Facebook friend mentioned this as a favorite peeve. I confess I love women in hats and have made a point of calling attention to them on Easter Sunday. The point is not to overdo it. A pastor should never forget the poor in the congregation who would love to buy new outfits for this wonderful day but are unable.
10. Welcome your guests to a poorly kept building and a neglected campus.
I suggest that from time to time, pastors walk the campus during Sunday School. Tour the parking lot. Is it clean? Is there litter? Have the leaves been cleared from sidewalks? Is it obvious this area has not been cleaned in weeks? Are the buildings attractive? Is there a blight anywhere? Is the dumpster misplaced (or surrounded by overflowing boxes, etc.)? Is there sufficient paper in the bathroom? Do any rooms need painting?
The first impression guests have on arriving at your church is mighty important.
11. Fail to pray for yourself, your team, the congregation and those newcomers who will walk into the buildings next Sunday.
12. Fail to follow up in a creative, non-intrusive way with every newcomer.
Need ideas on this? Call a friend who serves on staff in a large church that does this right and pick his/her brain.
This is a great day, friend. Enjoy it!