As Easter quickly approaches and candy collection, chocolate bunnies, and Family Eggstravaganzas fill churches across the country, this can easily become an overwhelming time for church leaders.
The planning. The excitement. The worry.
Don’t get me wrong — Easter services are a blast! But it can be a lot.
And I know… you’re probably over-saturated with articles to help you plan and maximize your Easter service. (If you’re not, you can find some great ones here, here, here, and here.)
But we just wanted to provide a few last-minute reminders for you to keep in mind as you’re planning and preparing for Easter Sunday:
1) Cover your service in prayer.
We hope you’re focusing on this already. But above all else, be sure to cover your services in prayer, starting today. This honestly is more important than anything else you do in preparation.
In John 6:44, we’re told, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…”
And in 1 John 5:14-15, we’re reminded, “And this is the confidence we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
The truth is that none of the words we say, the atmospheres we create, or the songs we sing will result in salvation. Changed hearts are a direct result of the work of the Holy Spirit, and an encounter with the message and person of Christ Jesus. We don’t bring the increase; God does.
Does this mean we don’t plan? By no means! (All credit to Paul for that one.)
But here’s the reality: Plans without prayers are a natural attempt to create something supernatural. And prayers without plans lack the structure necessary to support a move of God within our church.
So along with your planning, be sure to spend some time focusing on prayer for your Easter services and for all those who will attend.
2) Make follow-up a top priority.
New people will be at our churches on Easter Sunday. We have to expect them. We have to prepare for them. And we have to engage them.
In our day and age, that engagement has to go beyond Sunday morning. Even in a small church, we have to have a solid process in place to connect with and follow-up with new people who attend our church. To help you do that, here are some important questions to consider regarding your follow-up:
- Do we currently have a process in place to follow-up with new guests? This one speaks for itself, but you have to start off at the foundation: Do you currently have a follow-up process that you use to connect with first-time guests?
- Is our current process working? Have we seen results? If you answered “yes” to the first question, you now have to be honest about that process: Is it actually working? Are people taking a next step? Are they returning? If the process isn’t working, now is the perfect time to make some adjustments and try something new. (And yes, that will probably require change!)
- Who’s in charge of our follow-up process? Who’s the champion that will make sure first-time guests get the individual focus and attention they deserve? Whether it’s someone on staff or a core volunteer, be sure to revisit the expectations of this role to ensure clarity and confirm that a system is in place so no one falls through the cracks.
- What’s the simple next step we want people to take? The purpose behind follow-up with first-time guests is personal connection. Make sure you ask questions and avoid overwhelming them with information. Define one clear next step you would like them to take.
3) Just relax.
There’s no need to feel a crazy amount of pressure to do something really different for Easter from what a typical Sunday looks like at your church.
Be prepared. Address the areas that need to be addressed. But don’t walk the line of exhaustion and burnout simply because “that’s just how it is around Easter.”
As we wrote about around Christmas, let this be a time that you personally rediscover some powerful truths:
Let this be a time that you rediscover the beauty and the power and the mystery of the incarnation of Christ.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14
Let this be a time that you rediscover the significance of the resurrection of Christ.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” – 1 Peter 1:3
Let this be a time that you rediscover the overwhelming love and forgiveness that motivates our God to provide salvation as a free gift.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:4-7
Let this be a time that you rediscover the value of the excruciating pain your Savior went through on your behalf.
“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” – Philippians 2:8
It’s easy to get overwhelmed as we approach holiday services. But remember this: Ministry FROM God is much more powerful than ministry FOR God. Don’t let the busyness of Easter make ministry feel like a duty rather than an opportunity and a passion.
4) Make Easter a springboard for your church.
Planning, expectation, and preparation shouldn’t just be an Easter thing. Let your Easter services be a motivator to put the proper systems and structures in place that will continue to support growth throughout the rest of the year.
We should be prepared to connect with and follow-up with new guests every Sunday.
We should be expecting God to do a work in our ministry every Sunday.
We should be striving for excellence every Sunday.
Let the effort and thought you’re pouring into Easter be the foundation and springboard for what your ministry will look like moving forward.