Easter Evangelism: Does Your Church Have a Plan?
It is no secret that Easter is the “Super Bowl” of church Sundays in North America. Even in far less reached areas like where I pastor in Bellevue, Washington, Easter Sunday is generally a high attendance service. How do we make the most of the Easter season to best engage unchurched and unreached people in our community? Here are a few ideas and approaches that we are using as a part of our Easter Evangelism strategy. You may use these to spark ideas and plans that may be effective in your context.
1. Free Community Easter Egg Hunt: For the past three years, Essential Church has sponsored an Easter Egg hunt for our community. This past Saturday, we had over 2,500 people in attendance which makes it far and away the biggest numerical event we do all year long! Working with the local school and other churches and organizations in our community, we have been able to provide a fun and safe family friendly activity that falls within our larger LOVE Bellevue servant evangelism emphasis. There are a few aspects to this event that give us a special ability to connect our church with the community in ways that are normally unavailable.
* We are able to distribute fliers within the entire Bellevue School District. While the primary emphasis is the Egg Hunt, there is a small invitation to our Easter service as well.
* We pre-register/register every family who is participating in the egg hunt. We keep it simple- Name, email address, zip code (so we know if they are in our community) and number in party (so we can get attendance numbers as well as a feel for average family size.) By doing this, we are able to add them to our mailing list to let them know about future LOVE Bellevue events as well as invite them to special services and events at Essential such as Easter.
* Every family that registers at the event gets an information bag that includes an invitation to our Easter service the following Sunday. This year, we also invited our Chinese speaking friends to visit the new Chinese speaking church we have planted at our same location.
2. Utilize Invitational Tools and Social Media: This year, we created a two week “mini-series” entitled “That’s My King!” that fell within our larger study of Philippians. Our graphic designer created the logo in all of the different social media formats so that we could create a Facebook event page as well as use Instagram and Twitter to invite others. This year, we chose not to print out any specific pieces just for the Easter service, but that is also a helpful tool for increasing invitations.
3. Consider Internationals: In an ethnically diverse city like Bellevue, to ignore those who have never even heard the Easter story is a travesty. Essential has gone to great lengths (which deserves another blog post) to invest in Internationals in our community. Easter is a cultural touch point that many internationals are interested in learning about. Both on Easter Sunday but also in other areas, consider how you and your church may provide an informational service to the internationals in your community by offering to explain the Easter story to those who are unfamiliar with it. I have done this personally with my Toastmasters club and with the Youth For Christ group I volunteer with and others in our church have done this with various ESL classes as well as the International Talk Time at Bellevue College. This year, the International Talk Time group has been invited to attend Easter at Essential and will be eating lunch and going on a hike after the service is over. The hike will provide further opportunity to dialog with the students about the message of Easter which they may have heard for the first time.
4. Preach, Pray, and Prepare: In my messages leading up to Easter I am challenging and equipping our people to engage their unchurched/unreached friends and neighbors with the Gospel and an invitation to Easter at Essential. We recognize that prayer is essential in this endeavor so our people are encouraged to pray specifically for people who they hope to reach as well as for all of those people whom we have connected with through the Easter Egg hunt. Finally, we prepare for new visitors and guest to join us by putting out more seats, making more coffee, assembling extra Easter baskets and having additional Bibles on hand. Our leaders are prepared to pray with and counsel anyone who is ready to make a faith decision and we have our staff prepared to follow up with guests the week after Easter.
Certainly, there are many other ideas that you may include in your Easter Evangelism strategy, but perhaps the most important of all is to be prepared to give a very clear and understandable explanation of the Gospel through the Easter story and provide a simple way for people to respond to that message if the Holy Spirit is working in the message.
He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!