[NOTE: This blog is focused on the major event on the church calendar – Easter. It’s principles articulated herein are applicable across the spectrum of church events and seasons.]
Easter is just around the corner! Pastors are in full swing preparing for one of the greatest weekends on the church calendar.
I have pastors all the time ask me, “What are best practices in getting the word out for Easter?”
While there can be a lot of ways to prepare the church for making an impact in your community, I would like to suggest these top eight steps to prepare for this coming Easter.
1. Start with the end game in mind.
The end-game for Easter is not to get a big crowd out for Easter. The end-game is to get the crowd that shows up for Easter to come back the next week and the next and next and next … And the end-game for Easter is to get people to come all the way forward to Mother’s Day (NOTE: Mother’s day is the next most natural time many unchurched people will visit a church, so that’s why we suggest promoting Mother’s Day activities on Easter.).
2. Consider what will happen between Easter and Mother’s Day.
While you have a number of guests with you on Easter, you need to capitalize on their presence with you to talk (on Easter) about the series you are planning right after Easter. You need to make this series appealing to men because more often than not, men will not gravitate to a series oriented to women. However, women are frequently praying that their man will go to church with them. Hence, women will gravitate to a series oriented to men.
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3. Plan for Easter to be better than any Easter previously.
This can feel tricky, as in, “Are we trying to one-up ourselves from last year?” Being better this year over last is all about the value of your mission and improving your proclamation the Gospel. It’s not just about doing better and cooler “stuff.”
4. Prepare social media posts for the congregation.
You will be amazed at how many people in the church will help you spread the word about Easter at your church if you will give them ammunition to do so. Have the right person on your team create a large quantity of high-value posts that people can use on their own Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube accounts weeks out and right up through the Sunday itself.
5. Create invite cards for the congregation.
This can seem kind of old-school, but it works. Make up invite cards with just the basic information on it. In fact, you do not even need to reference Easter, just an invite card to church. This way you can buy a larger quantity to reduce the per piece cost and use them beyond Easter.
Make the card substantial in weight, heavier than a standard business card. That communicates the card’s content is important. Keep it simple: name of church, address, phone number and website. In fact, I know of one church that just went with name of church and website. Just a thought…
6. Plan a volunteer pep rally the Sunday before Palm Sunday.
You need to start your preparation with all volunteers to have them pumped up and on their game for Palm Sunday and Easter. On the Sunday before Palm Sunday, plan a pep rally luncheon for all volunteers or series of pep rally meetings for individual departments. Every leader of every gathering must be using the same language throughout the church.
Go over roles and responsibilities for each volunteer. Volunteers have to know what you expect of them on Easter. Point them to the mission of the church on those days and get them excited to be part of the team. Reinforce that all volunteers are hospitality volunteers on those Sundays. Here’s why: Don’t tell the volunteers this, but basically you are preparing for them to dry-run Easter on Palm Sunday. You’ll win on both Sundays.
7. Call for an Easter Prayer Meeting.
Either on Palm Sunday or on the Wednesday before Easter call a church-wide prayer meeting together to pray for the people who will come to your church on Easter and will not any other time. Pray that the Holy Spirit moves on their hearts to come and that they are open to hear the Gospel, some for the very first time. Make it a VERY, VERY BIG DEAL. This is not to be just some old prayer meeting. It is the most important thing you can do before Easter. You must plan for it and be spiritually prepared to lead the time of prayer for Easter.
8. Prepare for exceptional hospitality to be demonstrated on Easter.
By the time you get to “the day” itself, you need to have all of your hospitality volunteers performing at levels they never before thought possible. Reinforce to the whole church before Easter that hospitality is everyone’s job every Sunday but PARTICULARLY on Easter. Have each hospitality position double staffed with volunteers everywhere.
These are eight simple steps you can take to make Easter the biggest and best it has ever been. Do not cop out to a sense of, “Well, I guess it’s just another Easter.”
This is our day to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord. It’s also the day when more guests will be sitting in your auditorium with the Holy Spirit right at their side nudging them to follow Jesus.
This Easter can be the best you’ve ever experienced — not just with the size of your crowd, but more importantly, with the long-term impact you have on people who become a regular part of your church!
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