Keeping the Easter Mojo Going
“Don’t you wish EVERY Sunday could be like Easter?’
If I’ve been a pastor for 25 years, I have heard that question – in some form – for 25 straight years. And, of course, the truth is that every Sunday IS like Easter. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ every Sunday. We proclaim the gospel of grace every Sunday. The empty grave empowers and validates what we do EVERY Sunday. But every Sunday isn’t quite like last Sunday, is it? The increased attendance. And offering. And people who came back to church. And new faces. And the exciting vibe (whatever that is).
Pastors will tell you that they are never more revitalized and optimistic than the Monday after Easter. And never more demoralized than the Monday after the Sunday AFTER Easter.
So how can pastors and churches keep the Easter mojo going?
- Be realistic. Some people are CEO (Christmas & Easter Only) “Christians.” No matter how incredible the sermon was. Or the special music. Or the new coat of paint in the sanctuary. They just are. It is God’s job to change human hearts, so let’s be realistic about that. But …
- Be idealistic. Don’t JUST settle for the reality that some won’t come back. Easter has a way of enlarging our vision, and that’s awesome. Dream BIGGER. Plan BIGGER. I believe every church should constantly plan and structure itself to operate at a level twice their current average. Got 50 coming? Get ready – right NOW – for 100. Got 1000? Act like there’s 2000. In case you didn’t get the memo, God is a really big God.
- Pray. Pray for those who came on Sunday. Pray for the ones who made life-changing decisions. Pray for those who almost did. Pray for those who had (or found) a reason not to show up at all. Pray for volunteers who might have been overwhelmed. Pray for the follow-up conversation with all the above. Speaking of which …
- Follow up. Drop a card in the mail to thank the friend who finally came to church with you, and don’t be too “preachy.” Contact the friend who didn’t come, and ask if this Sunday (and lunch afterward) will work better than last Sunday. Forward any pertinent/helpful information to the appropriate church leaders. Your effort to reconnect might be more powerful than the original invitation.
- Make another list. “Big” Sundays prompt mental lists of people we should invite. Make another list right now. Who should you ask? Who doesn’t go to any church? What opportunities do you have to invite people with whom you regularly interact: the place you fuel your vehicles, the server (but you better tip WELL), the bank teller, friends at the rec league field, … who else?
Thank you, Lord for what you did in a lot of churches AND a lot of lives yesterday. Help us be good stewards of that gift of grace. And open our eyes to the opportunities we have to reach people THIS week. And the next. And the next. And …