If you’re like me, you’re saying “How in the world did Easter sneak up on me so fast this year?” It’s only two weeks away! Yikes! Preaching on Easter Sunday is one of the greatest joys for most pastors because it’s the day God chose to show everyone His Son was alive! Amen! Easter Sunday also brings an influx of people into your church, members and non-members alike. It’s one of the two busiest Sunday’s of the year, so prepare yourself well ahead of time.
Here are 4 specific plans you can implement before Easter Sunday arrives so you can be sure you are prepared.
- Update your website – Do it well in advance, like 2 or 3 weeks out. You probably want to get this going now… Your frequent members will know where to go and what is going on, but people who don’t attend your church regularly won’t have a clue. People coming to your church for the first time need to know where to go, what to do and how you’ll be celebrating the Risen King. Give them details. Also, if your church is difficult to find, make sure you have proper signage to help people navigate to the right place.
- Have a plan in place to welcome people. There is no better time to make use of volunteers than on Easter Sunday. If you have more than one service, make sure members attend one service and encourage them to serve in another. This past Sunday morning in my small group, a sheet was passed around asking for volunteers to sign up to serve in various areas like greeting, parking lot directions, in the children’s ministry and more.
- Be sure those who are serving are well educated. Create a pathway ahead of time so volunteers can easily walk new members through a seamless process into your church. Have a plan in place in case you run out of space! Hey, it’s a great problem to have, but the last thing you want is to have ushers and deacons scattering around your church trying to find enough additional chairs to seat those who are standing. Make sure extra chairs are on hand in a convenient location just in case you end up having more people than you expect.
- In the weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, make sure you are encouraging your congregation to make those they do not recognize feel welcome on Easter. Here is a good chance to encourage these new members to make Church Sunday a new tradition.
- Make everything available online in addition to the physical, printed bulletins you’ll hand out in the building. Remember, you’ll have more people in your church on Easter Sunday, so print more than usual. Don’t forget to include your social media channels as well.
- Engaging members and guests on Facebook and Twitter is a great way to keep individuals informed. On Facebook, create an event for Easter Sunday. It’s an easy way for your members to invite others and increase participation. Social is a great way to continue the Easter conversation and learning after it passes. Easter Sunday might have come and gone, but the worship and discussion doesn’t have to end.
- Create a plan to follow-up with people who came to your church for the first time. Every new person who attends your church on Easter Sunday should be nurtured. Follow-up with them within 48 hours. An email is the natural and most time-efficient way, but phone calls and personal notes from the pastor or staff mean so much more.
- Regardless of what you choose to do, make sure you have a comprehensive communication strategy in place for reaching out to new members. You’re hoping to get them involved in a small group, plug them in to serving as a volunteer in one of the ministry areas of your church, and ultimately see them become involved and active over time. If engagement in a small group or as a volunteer doesn’t happen right away, don’t panic. They may take a little time to get engaged which is completely normal.
As you share the love of God through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, this Easter, remember it is a time of sheer joy. Seeing new people come to know Christ on a very intimate, personal level is nothing short of incredible. But don’t let your communication with new believers and new members stop there. Disciple-making is a long journey, one that new believers cannot make alone.