Many Christians will argue that Easter is the like the Super Bowl of services for their church. It’s one of the biggest celebrations on the Christian calendar, and rightfully so. Your worship pastor will step up the music, your pastor’s sermon will be on point, and your fellow church members will hopefully be a little friendlier than normal.
If your church is like mine, then you’ve seen it before. Attendance will skyrocket on Easter Sunday (and might be a little higher than normal the week or two after Easter), but then it’s back to business as usual. Why is this happening?
I hate to break it to you, but it’s the church’s fault.
If you’re still with me after reading that last sentence, thanks for hearing me out. I love the church and I’m so thankful that we have a reason to celebrate Easter, but I think the church could be doing a lot better about its post-Easter outreach.
Churches tend to put a lot of emphasis on getting people to their Easter events. Postcards with the Easter service times are mailed, egg hunts are advertised, yard signs are strategically placed, and the list goes on. I’m not saying that these outreach ideas aren’t effective or that getting people in the church building on Easter isn’t important. In fact, if you haven’t done some of those things to make your community aware, then get started! But I do wonder why we focus so much on one Sunday?
Why are we only making a big deal out of one Sunday a year if we’re trying to reach people every Sunday of the year?
With more guests coming to your church on Easter Sunday than usual, you need to be prepared. You also need to plan for every Sunday after that.
Follow-Up. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: if a guest leaves you their contact information, they want you to contact them. Don’t wait. Let them know you’re glad they came and that you hope they will come back. This is also a perfect opportunity to introduce what’s coming next. Whether it’s a new message series or an upcoming event at the church, be sure to tell them about it. People are more likely to come to something they’ve been invited to.
Host a Spring Festival. Post Easter events are a great way to keep people engaged and get to know them. Think about hosting an event with free food, games, and fellowship. Events like these can be foundational in building relationships with the unchurched.
Summer is Coming. Summer will be here before you know it, which means your church is probably starting to look forward to summer camps and Vacation Bible School. Pick dates for those as soon as possible and start getting the word out now so families can plan for them.
Clean Up Your Website. Once Easter is over, it’s imperative to update your website and let potential first-time guests (and those guests that visited your church on Easter) know what is happening next. Are you hosting that spring festival in a couple of weeks? Are you having a Mother’s Day celebration? Let your website do some of the outreach work for you by keeping it current.
Document. While Easter is still fresh on your mind, document your successes and things that you would like to do differently for next years’ service. What worked and what didn’t? How many first-time guests did you have? Were there any professions of faith you can celebrate? What can you do to reach more people next year? Make note of these things now to have on hand for planning next Easter.
I don’t write this to say that Easter shouldn’t be celebrated in a big way at your church. Easter is the ultimate holy day and one of the highlights of the Christian journey. I’m just saying that your outreach ministry shouldn’t begin and end with your Easter Sunday celebration. Be intentional about what you are going to do to reach people once Easter is over.
About Faith Perceptions
Faith Perceptions is a market research firm that provides churches and faith-based organizations with research about their target market. We send mystery guests into churches across the country each week to report back to us on what their experiences are like. We use this information to help churches improve the way they welcome and connect with guests. Faith Perceptions has been evaluating the first-time guest experience since 2008.