Easter is coming! Are you ready?
Easter is typically one of the highest attended days of the year for churches. So if you are preaching, you are probably feeling the pressure.
Here are 5 words of advice to help as you prepare.
1. Build Momentum Leading Up to Easter.
Don’t wait until the week of Easter to build excitement and anticipation for Easter Sunday. Start weeks ahead.
Promo what you are going to be doing. Announce a goal to your church for how many people you are praying will hear about Jesus and how you can reach it. Send out a mailer to local neighborhoods to get the word out.
Post flyers. Hand out invite cards or tickets for your people to give to their friends, family, or co-workers. Create buzz via social media.
Whatever you need to do, make sure you let your people know how big a deal going to your church on Easter will be.
2. Bring Your Best.
If preaching were a sport, Easter would be the Super Bowl. (Or if you have multiple weeks of easter messages, the World Series).
I have never understood how someone can stand before their biggest crowd all year and preach the same stale sermon they have always preached.
Give it all you got! Bring something fresh to the table.
This may be your only chance to reach some of the people in your audience.
If this was the last message you ever preached, what would you say? How would you say it?
Don’t hold anything back.
3. Be Time-Conscious
Most people’s plans for Easter don’t begin and end with your church. The majority of them will have plans with family or friends afterwards. Do them all a favor and let them out on time or even early. They will appreciate you for it.
Nobody wants to miss their Easter brunch because the pastor got long-winded.
Be aware of how much time you have to preach. Have a clock or a watch to help you keep track.
This doesn’t mean that you water down the content. Just keep it simple, clear and to the point. Avoid rabbit trails and off-subject comments.
You want people to be glad they went to your church on Easter, not upset because you ruined their plans for the day.
4. Talk About… Easter
Seriously. I know many of you are thinking, “No Duh!” But you would be surprised how people can miss this.
Preach about Easter on Easter. And don’t just preach about Jesus’ crucifixion, because we wouldn’t have anything to celebrate without a resurrection!
Tell the story… again. Everyone is expecting to hear you talk about it. Everyone wants you to talk about it. Some of them may even have never actually heard it. So tell it.
You can still try to be creative to mix it up a little. But don’t fall into the trap of trying so hard to be creative or original that you fail to talk about the reason Easter is such a big deal.
Easter is more than bunnies, plastic eggs, and candy. It is the greatest story ever told! Which leads to the next point…
5. Preach the Gospel.
Jesus took the punishment that we deserved. He died in our place. And then Jesus kicked death’s sorry butt three days later so that we could be saved – not because of anything we do but because of what Jesus has already done!
The Easter message is the Gospel. It is the cornerstone of Christianity. Without the resurrection, there is no hope. We do not worship a dead role model, we worship a risen savior.
Don’t waste such a momentous occasion without giving people an opportunity to respond to what Jesus did for them on that cross.
If you only accomplish one thing this Easter, make sure that every single person leaving your church has a clear understanding of what the Gospel is and why it is such good news.
6. Plan Beyond Easter.
Many pastors stop at #5 and completely miss out on something big. You need to have a plan in place to get the people who visited your church to come back.
So what are you doing to get people to come back? What is your hook? What is the next big thing they need to know about?
What are you doing to try to get their contact information so you can send them a welcome letter, postcard, or give them a phone call and invite them back?
Maybe you are going to launch a new series they will benefit from. Maybe you will give guests a goodie bag with a coupon for a free gift the next Sunday. Maybe you have some kind of community service project you want them to sign up for.
Whatever it is, give them the best reason possible to come back.
Many churches are missing out because they have great momentum Easter Sunday, but no plan to carry it over to the next Sunday.