Several weeks have now passed since Easter. My hope is that by now, church leaders are scratching their heads and wondering if it was all worth it.
A lot, LOT, of churches consider Easter to be a day for growth. For church marketing types, it is Super Bowl Sunday. With the highest attendance of the year the attitude seems to be “Since lots of people are coming let’s do something awesome and maybe those visitors will come back!”
And boy do churches go all out. They alter the schedule. They plan a special service. The kids ministry is amped up. There are meetings about the big day. There is a special marketing plan for the day. There are mailers and prizes and flowers and bands and rehearsals and... then it’s over.
Somehow in the middle of this we try to be somber and remember that Our Lord was crucified and three days later resurrected! But the truth is that staff at those churches are hyped up on adrenaline and hope that this is the year that they will reach a new attendance record.
Easter mayhem is the 2000s version of Vacation Bible School which was the 1980s version of Sunday School
I don’t know how it all got started. But somehow Easter went from a holiday we solemnly celebrated to a day where people can win a car for showing up to church.
Easter, in some churches, has become less a religious holiday and more a church growth opportunity.
Easter is the highest attended weekend of the year in most churches. But the weekend after Easter is one of the lowest attended weekends of the year. Followed by the month of May– where church attendance and program enthusiasm typically murmurs out as the school year comes to an end.
What’s the point?
The point is exactly my point. While attendance is typically at an all-time high engagement is at an all-time low.
And when you look at the return on that investment– Easter mayhem is as effective at reaching people as Vacation Bible School. There may be a whole lot of people there for the event, but does it translate to long-term attendees?
Not in my experience.
What translates to long-term attendees?
Neighbors loving neighbors. Finding a community where you belong. Community service. And other things that aren’t as sexy as giving people a car on Easter Sunday or shaving a pastors head on the last day of VBS.