With just nine weeks until Easter, many churches are already preparing for the most-attended church service of the year. LifeWay Research found that 93% of pastors surveyed said that Easter Sunday always brings the largest crowds. Most churches strive to make the day special for all but place a special emphasis on making guests feel welcome in the hope that they will return in the future.
In an article at The Christian Post titled “How to Keep the 'Chreasters' Coming: Experts Say Preparedness and Follow-up Are Key,” pastors are encouraged to consider the visitors’ perspective. Ed Stetzer—executive director of LifeWay Research, an expert in church planting and church growth, and lead pastor at Grace Church—explains:
"It's basically about getting 'ready for company.' If you are having new people over, you make sure everything is ready."
Being ready for visitors includes everything from greeters to information cards to an outline of what guests can expect during the service. Most important, it includes offering a clear message that puts the resurrection into context.
“For people who aren’t familiar with God’s Story, the resurrection is a peculiar event that can easily be detached from the rest of the Bible’s plot line,” says Jerry McCorkle, executive director of Spread Truth Ministries. Jerry continues:
“No one likes to come into the middle of a story, whether it’s a conversation or a movie. We often drop people in to the middle of the biblical Story when we only share the Fall and Rescue. In order to understand the importance of these two chapters, we must share the bookends of Creation and Restoration. The Story must have context.”
Whether you are a pastor planning an Easter service or you have invited family and friends to join you this Easter, consider using The Story to give your guests context for the resurrection. The Story is a beautifully designed booklet developed with Peter’s admonition in mind: “Always [be] prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV).
Guests are planning to be with us, in our churches on April 5. Let’s be ready to share the hope we have found in Christ Jesus.