On Easter Sunday, churches around the world invite their communities to come in and listen to two big, bold claims. First, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world, died for their sins and then came back from the dead. And second, that anyone who puts their trust in the risen Jesus will live forever.
That’s a lot to take in for someone who has never given serious thought to the Good News of Jesus before. So when people find their way into your congregation on this very important Sunday, remember how vital it is to practice the ministry of hospitality and be good hosts to spiritual seekers.
Obviously, we should be preparing for the evangelistic opportunity of Easter Sunday long before the big day, but there are still some things you can do in the last 24 to 48 hours leading up to your Easter weekend services that can make a big difference in how effectively you reach people.
1. Do one last big promotional push on social media.
It’s easy and affordable to sponsor an ad on most major social networks. Advertising for Easter Sunday several weeks in advance can be effective, but in our age of short attention spans, the most important time to invite people through advertising is the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday leading up to your services.
2. Challenge your church to pray and invite.
Anyone who is an active member of your church has become part of the mission. They’ve committed to evangelism and to inviting and to greeting. So engage and activate them. Send emails, text messages, and social media updates to your members and regular attenders reminding them of the importance of prayer for the spiritually lost and of inviting their friends to come to church with them.
3. Remind your staff and leaders about their responsibility this weekend.
At Saddleback Church, our staff and key leaders often get special breaks and breathers from a busy schedule after a big weekend is over. But leading up to the big day, it’s “all hands on deck.” We often have dozens of services happening in multiple locations, and it takes a lot of people to do it all well.
Encourage your leaders with a reminder that the extra energy they invest in this big weekend will reap an eternal harvest as more people hear about Christ because of their efforts.
4. Prepare to share the Gospel well.
It’s certainly okay to get creative with your message preparation, but don’t forget to present Jesus Christ, his Crucifixion, and his Resurrection as the basis for eternal life for all who will believe in him.
5. Make it as easy as possible for people to respond.
A few years ago, we decided to change our communication and response card for Easter weekend. We took away most of the checkboxes and left only one big option—Today, I’m committing my life to Jesus Christ. We went from seeing hundreds of responses to seeing thousands.
6. Be ready to follow up.
Remember that the Great Commission and Great Commandment aren’t fulfilled in a single event. You must be committed to developing disciples and creating a process through which new believers can grow.
Think about how you’re going to reach back out to your guests, help new believers follow up with baptism and church membership, get people into small groups, and help people discover the ministry God designed them for.
7. Worship with your whole heart.
You’ve prepared your message, your volunteer teams, and your outreach communications. Now, prepare your own heart to encounter Jesus this weekend and give him praise and worship as the risen King! You demonstrate great leadership when you’re an example of what worship looks like in the life of God’s people.