Now that I’ve shamelessly used a click bait title, let me explain what I mean. In the last few decades there has been an influx of creativity surrounding the church and its effort to invite the lost to hear the good news of Jesus on Sundays. Churches have gone to great lengths to attract people in their community to come check out who this Jesus guy really is, regardless of if it’s Easter or not.
Invitation is valuable, biblical, and necessary in the Christian life. In scripture we see Jesus inviting the disciples to drop their nets and follow him. In John’s Gospel, Andrew invites Simon to come meet Jesus, and then Philip invites Nathanael to see Jesus. In Matthew 11, we see Jesus invite everyone who is weary to come to Him for rest. The invitation to come to Christ is open, and as the church, we should be extending that invitation continually, Easter Sunday or not.
What’s So Special Then?
So why do we extend invitation so vigorously leading up to Easter Sunday? What is it about this national holiday that makes us do things we normally wouldn’t do on Sundays? Why do more people come on Easter? Are they drawn to explore Christianity because of Jesus, or because of something else?
Over The Top
I did a quick Google search for promotions that churches have done to invite people to Easter Sunday services. On one hand, I saw some amazing efforts to reach the lost, preach the Gospel, and communicate the love of Christ. On the other hand, I saw cheap gimmicks designed to entice people to attend their services.
I’ve seen churches spend a million dollars, give away cars, and hand out prize packages to gain attendance, and it’s heartbreaking. I hate seeing pastors use the hope of winning material prizes to get people to walk through their church doors. And I don’t buy the bait and switch excuse, either. You think they’ll come just for the prize, but after hearing about Jesus, get saved? Maybe. But Let me ask you this: did Jesus hand out chariots and a lifetime supply of fish before He preached the Sermon on the Mount?
A famous quote that bothers me in the best way says, “How you get them is how you keep them.” Is what you’re doing on Easter Sunday reflecting what typically happens throughout the year? While these promotions and ideas may genuinely come from a desire to get people to come and hear about Jesus, is it worth it? Is it reproducible? If you can’t answer yes to each of those questions, you might consider heading back to the drawing board.
What We Do
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. “
This is a snapshot of what we do as Christians. We teach, admonish, sing, and give thanks to God for who He is and what He’s done in the person and work of Jesus Christ. That’s why, at our church, we don’t do gimmicks. My Sunday morning set for Easter gets just as much attention, preparation, and prayer as the other 51 Sundays out of the year. We’re concerned with equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, not trying to trick them into coming to a service. We’re adamant about teaching our people to make intercession, investment, and invitation a natural rhythm of their every day lives in reaching people for Jesus. We aren’t interested in sending out 10,000 flyers about an Easter car giveaway.
Here’s why: we celebrate Easter every Sunday. Every Sunday is a reason to teach, sing, praise, and give thanks. The resurrection has happened! The tomb is empty! The grave was borrowed, Jesus lives, and Jesus wins!
Don’t Be A Weirdo
So, does this mean we’re all supposed to be ho-hum and weird about Easter? Heck no! Celebrate your face off. There’s something valuable about celebrating one of the biggest moments in the history of the world. I’m suggesting you think it through in terms of longevity. At our church, CrossPointe, we do an Egg Hunt after each service. We think it’s an amazing opportunity for our guests to connect with the body of Christ while they watch their kids have fun hunting for eggs. It gives our people time to fellowship, pray, and follow up with the friends and family they invited. It opens doors to ask good questions and circle back on some of the more difficult parts of understanding what Jesus did on the cross. So go for it, celebrate!
Leverage Everything For Jesus
So, this Easter and every Sunday after, leverage everything for Jesus through invitation and proclamation. Don’t poison the well out of a misplaced desire to get people in the door. May the people who walk through your doors this year be drawn because your people are known in their community for their love, not their marketing skills.
Josiah Potter is the Worship Pastor at CrossPointe Church Lake Nona in Orlando Florida with his wife Jordan and their three beautiful daughters, Mercy, Sunday, and Ruby. In 2009 he founded the Worship Cohort in Orlando and has seen Jesus grow it to over 15 cohorts in 8 states. Under the leadership of Chris Horton, worship pastor at The Journey Church in St. Louis, MO, The Worship Cohort exists to serve the worship pastors and leaders for the glory of God and our hope is to see worship pastors start new cohorts in their cities.