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Every year around this time I get questions from other pastors or people in our church about why we don’t do a normal Easter service on Easter Sunday. The thinking goes, “Churches will have people who only come once or twice a year, so you need to hit them with the Easter message. Don’t miss this opportunity.”
And while I understand this thinking, I think it is shortsighted, which leads me to my answer:
We do an Easter message every week. At Revolution we end all our services by taking communion. The goal of every sermon is to get to the resurrection. Notice I didn’t say cross, but that’s a different post. Each and every week we do the same thing: “We are broken and can’t fix ourselves. Our only hope is found in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.” Easter is just one out of 52 times we do this each year.
Create a reason to come back next week. I have two goals on Easter: helping people take the step of following Jesus for those who are ready, and getting everyone else to come back the week after Easter. Therefore, you have to create a reason for them to come back. Pastors do not put enough effort into this and just hope people will come back. This is why I love to start a series on Easter. In years past we’ve started a series on the Gospel of John and looked at how change works from Galatians. Last year we kicked off a relationship series on Easter. Give them a reason to come back. Never end a series on Easter; that communicates, too bad you missed all the cool stuff!
If they only come on Easter, give it a twist so they don’t get bored. Unchurched people are smarter than we often give them credit for. They come on Easter, think they know the story, what you will say and how it will end. Because of this, they tune it out and wait until it ends so they can go back to their life. What if you hit them with an unexpected twist, hit a felt need they weren’t expecting you to talk about? The resurrection is our hope in all things in life; start with the brokenness it is the hope for. Too often Easter messages are geared towards Christians. I understand the tension because they are the ones who complain if they don’t like your Easter message. Everyone simply doesn’t come back.

Josh Reich is the lead pastor of Revolution Church in Tucson, AZ, which is trying to live out the rhythms of Jesus. The church's dream is to "help people find their way back to God."

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