If church is all about reaching numbers than this is Super Bowl Week for church.
If you work in a church, holy week is kind of hell week. Church staff can’t wait for Monday. (Speaking as a former church staffer!) Weeks of planning and putting together a marketing plan, an event plan, a parking plan, and a planning session to make sure all of the plans are lined up.
Here’s the dirty secret: Easter strategery doesn’t lead to long term benefits to 99% of churches.
– While attendance is high on Easter morning, engagement is at an all-time low.
– While production is high on Easter morning, these are largely the same people who saw the Easter show last year and weren’t effectively changed.
– While tensions are high on Easter morning, people who are coming aren’t coming to find a church… they are there to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.
I’m not sure how Easter became the Christian Super Bowl, but I do know a better plan.
– Make the Easter service and the events leading up to it about Jesus.
– Instead of the whole thing leading up to a Gospel presentation (Built on the false assumption that visitors aren’t believers in the resurrection… I mean, why would they be there?) why not make the service a kick-off in how you can get involved in living out the message of Jesus in your community? (Romeo nailed this last year IMO) I’m not saying we should share the Gospel, but I’m thinking we should all remember that the Gospel is all these Christmas and Easter folks hear at church. Maybe that’s why they think your church is irrelevant?
– Instead of hosting an experience people won’t see for the next 12 months, why not invest that energy in meeting the practical needs of the people who come? A gift card for groceries says “I love you” way more than hiring a band.A warm handshake and an open heart is way more valuable then an Easter play.
– Instead of marketing hype, why not invest in relationship hype?
– Instead of stressing out the staff, why not send a message to the community that the church is healthy by “forcing” the staff to work less and experience Holy Week?
– Perhaps it is time most churches took an old school approach to Easter morning, let the visitors come. Invite them back. But don’t bend over backwards for people who are only committed to coming Easter and Christmas. While it is an “opportunity” I think it’s more a distraction from the people who really want to grow in Jesus than an opportunity to reach those who have already decided to be nominal.
Side note to those who don’t get what I’m talking about: Imagine the pageantry that you’ll experience at your church this weekend. Now, multiply that by every church and your community. Then envision that across the country… what you’ll see is an “Easter industry” that is as weird as the the Easter aisle at Target. It just doesn’t fit, but we accept it!