We know that outsiders and guests are more likely to show up at Easter than any other Sunday, right?
In fact, we also know that our infrequent attenders are probably going to show up for Easter. We don’t have to hear all of their typical excuses for why they haven’t shown up in a while!
For followers of Jesus, Easter represents the single greatest act in human history…
Jesus defeated sin and death by walking out of the tomb alive! He resurrected, which means that He’s bigger and stronger than anything we’ll ever face, and that He’s better than anyone else in history who claimed to be a god or a religious leader.
So you’ll have a crowd, and you’ll have a reason to celebrate. THAT’S WHY EASTER SUNDAY IS THE BIGGEST DAY IN THE CHURCH CALENDAR YEAR.
★★But like all big events in life, they’re better when we’re ready for them.
- It’s why people have an engagement period to plan weddings and honeymoons.
- It’s one of the reasons why (I’m guessing here) that God created nine months of pregnancy to give people time to prepare for a new baby.
But what do we do to get ready for Easter?
Let me rephrase that, because most of you have probably prepared for an Easter service or series before. Most likely, you did all of the same stuff you do to prepare for any other Sunday, just with a little more time and attention. But what are some of the commonly overlooked things we need to think about as Easter approaches?
That’s what we’re going to talk about today: the not-so-common ways to ensure that Easter is your best outreach of the year!
ONE: FOCUS ON MAKING IT AWESOME FOR KIDS
No matter the average age or stage of life for your congregation, we all know one thing…
Any place that’s full of young kids is alive with energy!
Show me a church where kids are excited to show up, and I’ll be willing to bet that it’s a healthy church.
I know that’s not ALWAYS the case, but more often than not, when kids are happy, their parents are happy. So why wouldn’t we target kids for our Easter experience?
Think about these two things…
- No one has more power to persuade and influence parents than their kids. Isn’t it true that parents will show up to endless numbers of things they don’t want to attend, just because their kids want to go? Why should we think church is any different? If you want to engage more outsiders and guests at Easter, go after the people who have the most influential pull. And in today’s culture, that means going after the little guys and girls!
- Kids represent the future of the church. This is bigger than just Easter Sunday. Every child that you appeal to and impact is another person who just might carry the message of God’s love on to people you don’t—or will no longer—have a voice with. We are living in a culture that is growing quickly in its lack of faith. That makes all of us worry about the future when it comes to our view of faith and church. So let’s fight back in the area where we can alter that the most: with the people who represent the future!
So look for ways to make your Easter service fun and engaging for kids! And find ways to promote your Easter service or series that reflect that. Invest as much time, money, and energy as you can into making your Easter experience awesome for kids. Pray and ask God for ways to bring it to life for the little ones!
TWO: MARKET/PROMOTE TO FAMILIES
Like we mentioned in point one, kids have a lot of power to sway their parents towards church.
Conversely, parents want to know that a place is family-friendly.
So when your Easter promotions point towards a great experience for the whole family, you have parents’ attention.
Parents want to get their kids in a place that exposes them to goodness, values, and virtues. For some of them, there is a spiritual side to this: they want their kids to love and follow God. For others, however, they just want their kids to be better people.
Here’s what’s awesome: in the context of the local church, they get both! Kids can learn about the value of things like honesty and kindness, and your church leadership and volunteer team can help them connect it to faith.
So as you prepare to promote Easter Sunday or your Easter series, think about this…
- Some parents will see it and think, “We all need to be in church for Easter.”
- Others will see it and simply think, “I need to make sure my kids are in church for Easter.”
Either way, it’s an opportunity for you to engage both! Just get them in the doors, and let the work of the Holy Spirit take over!
SO WHETHER IT’S FACEBOOK ADS, FLYERS, BILLBOARDS, WORD-OF-MOUTH, OR SOME OTHER FORM OF MARKETING, MAKE SURE YOU LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT YOUR CHURCH IS A GREAT PLACE FOR FAMILIES TO BE ON EASTER!
THREE: GET YOUR VOLUNTEER GUEST SERVICES TEAM LINED UP
When you have guests who show up at your church, they’re going to walk away and say one of two things…
“I felt like a guest”
“I felt like an intruder”
Many guests haven’t been to church in a long time. Many of them are skeptical or afraid. Sometimes, they’re just not sure what it’s going to be like and how people are going to respond to them.
When you develop a volunteer guest services team, you put yourself in the position to ease as much tension as possible for your guests.
Guest service is important at hotels, restaurants, and hospitals…
Even more so, guest services are super-important at church!
Think about it: you’re offering the hope of Jesus Christ to guests who have a lot of fear and skepticism!
So make sure your guest services team…
- Can walk in the shoes of guests. They need to feel the potential tensions that guests could feel.
- Can embrace the uniqueness of guests. They need to understand that each guest shows up with a unique story and worldview.
- Can adapt to the uncertainty of guest services. Every human being is different. So there’s no way to predict the variety of requests and situations your team will find themselves in!
- Can maintain a bigger vision. No matter how monotonous or difficult the role, a great guest services team keeps love and service front and center.
FOUR: START CASTING CLEAR VISION TO YOUR CONGREGATION EARLY
You know that there will be some guests who show up at Easter. And you care about that deeply. But don’t assume that members of your congregation feel the same way.
For a lot of your regulars, they’re simply not thinking about guests. They’re thinking about what their kids are wearing, making it to church on time, and what they’re doing afterwards.
So long before the hustle and bustle of the Easter, you have to communicate that Easter is more than just another “holiday.” It’s an opportunity to engage people with the life-changing truth of Jesus Christ.
Treat Easter as the landing strip. Treat everything leading up to that as the runway.
- Talk about it.
- Talk about it some more.
- Cast vision.
- Cast vision some more.
FIVE: PLAN YOUR FOLLOW-UP IN ADVANCE
Follow-up is a big deal.
You need to do something on the back end that connects guests more closely with your church. Here are 2 ideas…
This may sound overly-simplistic, but it’s a huge deal for hundreds of reasons…
Have people fill out a card.
When people fill out a card, they’re telling you two things…
- They’re okay with you contacting them. (Everybody understands this when they give you their email address.)
- The best email address to use in communicating with them.
Having updated email information from people is vital for following up.
When it comes to first time-guests, make sure they have an opportunity to fill out information cards and drop them in the offering plate. At a bare minimum, have them available at your information table.
It could be as simple as a card like this…
Also, if someone visits the information table, the volunteer who works that station should look (if possible) for an opportunity to get their email address.
Here’s a sample response email you can send that week…
Thank you for visiting our church family this week! I know it isn’t always easy to step into a new place, but I want you to know that we will do everything we can to ensure that this is a great experience for you.
I think you’ll love the connections you can make with people here. It truly is a community of people who are committed to each other!
**(Note: if they filled out a card pertaining to a particular program or initiative). Also, thank you for taking a step and expressing interest in ________. You’ll hear back very soon from ___________, who knows all about that area. They’re looking forward to connecting with you.
If you have any additional questions at all, feel free to email me at this address. We look forward to seeing you again soon.
Thanks again for visiting us!
Right after church is a great time to set up a consistent gathering for new guests. It doesn’t have to be only for people who are there for the first time. But let people know that this meeting is for people who have questions about the church, want to get connected, or want to know some of the next steps your church offers.
Whether you call this a First-Timers Class, a Meet & Greet, or a Next Steps Meeting, it has five purposes…
- Make a relational connection with people who visited your church.
- If you have the budget, give them a gift (even if you don’t have budget for gifts, consider writing them a personal note).
- Answer any questions they have.
- Help people take a next step and get connected and involved in your church.
- Learn what you’re doing right and wrong as a church when it comes to creating a great guest experience.
Here’s a sample script, which also walks through the flow of the meeting (it doesn’t need to last long at all)…
Hey everyone, my name is Steve. I’ve been a part of this church family for ____ years. Thank you so much for coming here today. I recognize that you take a chance anytime you try out a new church. However you got here, I’m glad you made it! I hope it was a great Easter experience for you and your family. If not, we’d love to know what we can do to make it better for first-time guests like you.
Also, thank you for taking time to come to this quick little gathering. I want to be respectful of your time, so I won’t keep you here long. The main point of this is just to connect with you guys and see if you have any questions. We don’t put people on the spot or pressure them. We simply want to know you to the extent that you want to be known.
So if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them. After that, I’d love to meet you. But again, no pressure.
Anyone have questions or comments?
(Allow time for people to share and ask questions).
Again, thanks for showing up today. I know you’re all busy. I appreciate you doing the hard work of getting your family to church. If there’s anything we can do for you, please let us know. And hopefully we’ll see you guys next week!
The church is a family. It’s a body of believers. It’s a gathering of people around one unified idea. The process of following up is really the same process of going deeper in a relationship. It just happens one small step at a time.
- Do you have a process for getting contact information?
- Do you have a process for following up?
★★ Get the tools in your pocket to connect guests at Easter quickly! It’s one of the most important things you can do to foster long-term engagement!
Check out Easter For Everyone!
YOU’LL WALK AWAY FROM THIS PRODUCT WITH TONS OF RESOURCES THAT HELP YOU ENGAGE PEOPLE THROUGHOUT YOUR EASTER WEEKEND!
TAKE A LOOK HERE!
This resource includes…
- 3 written sermons, including one for Good Friday, one for Palm Sunday, and one for Easter Sunday.
- Coaching videos from Jeff Henderson.
- Social media posts.
- Series invite emails and letters.
- An Easter announcement script.
- An Easter offering setup script.
- An information card and follow-up email.
- An after-service connection guide for guests.
- Series logo that you can use in emails, social media posts, on screen, etc.