5 Common Easter Mistakes
Easter is one of the most exciting holidays of the year but can also be an extremely stressful season for pastors and churches looking to engage their community with the gospel. There are so many books, blogs, seminars, and suggestions for ways to maximize Easter services that can put unnatural pressure on churches to operate at peak performance. At the same time, pastors are pushed into feeling more like event promoters than evangelistic preachers. No matter what your strategy is for reaching people far from God, redefining success and expectations for your church is vital to have the best Easter ever. Avoid these 5 common mistakes so that you don’t ruin Easter this year:
Don’t Pray for the Lost
Let’s face it, we all want a packed sanctuary on Easter. Deep down, our desire is that more people would come to faith in Christ. However, the work of life transformation relies more on the spiritual labor of prayer for the lost than on superficial strategies to get people in the door. If we try hard enough, we can all gather a crowd but the most important thing is that each soul encounters the living God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Planning is good, but prayer is great. Since the gospel spreads most rapidly through existing relationships, teach and train the church to pray for their lost family members, friends, and neighbors by name this Easter season.
Don’t Preach Jesus
This might seem like an obvious fact but you’d be surprised by how many churches prioritize creative gimmicks and entertainment at the expense of a simple presentation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Salvation is in the power of the gospel. Period. If you giveaway free prizes on Easter but don’t giveaway the gospel, you haven’t given anything of value to a lost soul. The most relevant and life-giving message we have for a broken world is that there is hope and healing in the cross of Christ. If we never present the message of the cross than we’ve missed the main point of Easter. Churches should intentionally and plainly infuse the gospel into every aspect of their Easter service.
Don’t Present an Invitation to Follow Jesus
Whenever we see the presentation of the gospel in the Scriptures it is always followed by an invitation to respond. In fact, when Peter preached Jesus to the crowds at Pentecost, they were “cut to the heart” and wondered what to do next. Filled with the Spirit, Peter responded with boldness, “repent and be saved”. The gospel is not just presenting information about Jesus, but offering an invitation to enter a relationship with Him. It would be a shame to leave people at the Door and never invite them in to commune with Jesus. Whether you know it or not, there will be many sitting in your worship services this Easter wondering, “What must I do to be saved?” Take this opportunity to call souls into a saving relationship with Christ.
Don’t Promote on Social Media
Every generation encounters new technologies that have the potential to further advance the gospel. Currently, social media is the platform that connects our world. In fact, a survey of your congregation and local community will yield surprising results in relation to online activity. People are turning to social media for news, information, and community that they can’t find anywhere else. For this reason, if your church doesn’t have an online presence you’re not reaching people where they spend the most of their time. Fortunately, with very little funds and an energized congregation, your church can share the gospel, promote awareness of Easter events, and engage dialogue with more people than ever before online.
Don’t Plan to Follow Up with Guests
It is very likely that many non-Christians will be more open to visiting a church on Easter if a friend invites them. As hosts to these timid and uncomfortable guests, it’s important that churches ease their stress while at the same time building bridges for engagement and meaningful connection. The surest way to show you don’t care about guests is to never communicate with them after their first visit. Having a welcome center, connect cards, hospitality teams, and timely communication following a guest’s visit helps create a culture where people feel welcome, appreciated, and cared for. When people long for deeper connections, it’s up to the church to initiate spiritual conversations that lead them towards faith in Christ.
Sherwood Patterson is the lead pastor of Alpine Christian Fellowship in San Diego, CA. His passion is to teach God's word, equip servant leaders, and advance the missional nature of the church. Sherwood holds an M.Div and is currently pursuing a D.Min in church planting and multiplication. He also serves as a church strength and revitalization coach for the San Diego SBC Association.