For the very first time in modern church history, the majority of churches around the globe will not be gathering in their usual places of worship this Easter. Instead, Easter will be celebrated in individual homes all over as families gather around their television and computer screens to join their church communities for worship.
We are just one week away from Resurrection Sunday, and for many of us, this still feels almost like a dream. If we’re honest, most of us were content with doing a few weeks of a live stream. No big deal. But the reality that Easter will also be celebrated through the digital sphere is something most of us could never have imagined.
Easter Sunday is the most attended service of the year, even more so than Christmas! In addition, the week before Easter Sunday, Holy Week, is a highly attended week as churches gather for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and even “stations of the cross” displays.
You no doubt have had a litany of different plans mapped out for the Easter season - from Last Supper reenactments to Easter egg hunts. But now, as our plans have been canceled and Easter celebrations transported to an online church experience, you are probably wondering how you could possibly make Easter unique for your community. However, Easter service is not just for your existing community, but it is the perfect opportunity to reach those outside of it as well.
Although Easter services will be digital this year, this does not lessen the number of attendees. In fact, the number of people attending Easter this year will probably be more substantial than ever before. Why?
What better place to find these things than in Jesus?
You can expect to not only have your regular attendees partaking in your online service, but many unchurched people, “Chreasters” (a.k.a. People who typically only attend Christmas and Easter services), and those who are merely searching for hope too.
The Church has been positioned for this very moment during this global crisis - to be a light in the darkness and proclaim the Good News of Jesus this Easter season. We have a choice, as the Body of Christ, to either sit back and miss this opportunity or leverage this time to reach more people for Christ than we ever have before.
Here are 5 strategies you can utilize to maximize the moment and share the Gospel with the world this Easter.
The unique aspect of this Easter season is that all of our excuses for not inviting people to church (and their reasons for not accepting our invite) are done away with. Most of us don’t have work to go to, other plans, or the litany of other excuses. The majority of people are going to be hunkered down with their families enjoying a nice Easter meal.
Besides this point, most people will accept your invite to church if you actually ask them, especially if they’re invited to an Easter service. As mentioned above, there are a lot of “Chreasters” out there who are willing to attend service a few times a year.
Inviting people to church is easier than ever before. There are no awkward conversations, no trying to think of the right words - all you need to do is simply click on the share button. Despite the ease of sharing details about your church’s Easter service, personal invites are still the best possible method to reach people. Call, text, or email your close friends and simply invite them to service. You will be surprised at the number of people who will accept the invitation.
We are all lacking community during this season of isolation, but fortunately enough, we have the power of social media to keep us connected. Although you may have intended during this time of social isolation to be extremely productive, you have probably found yourself roaming through the endless abyss of the Internet - mainly social media.
You aren’t alone. Many people are turning to social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to both occupy their time and interact with friends, family, and co-workers. A great way to reach these people who are already online is to utilize tools to pique their interest and inspire engagement.
A practical way to inspire engagement is to post interactive Instagram Stories, captions, and images. You may have seen posts on Facebook and Instagram that ask followers to answer specific questions with a GIF or phrase. You could ask some of the following questions:
Simple, fun questions like these can both inspire engagement and provide a light-hearted way for interaction within your community and beyond. Include your church’s branding on these posts and point people back to your church’s social media or website. This is a simplistic way to encourage people to be a part of what your church is doing.
Communion was first celebrated in the first century the night before Jesus would be arrested. Jesus gathered with His disciples over a meal, after spending time washing their feet in the act of humble servanthood, and established the very first communion. Jesus broke bread, signifying His body that would be broken and poured wine, signifying His blood that would be poured out for us. When He did all of these things, Jesus then instructed His disciples to do this in remembrance of Him.
Communion is such a pure sacrament that we often overlook in our everyday lives. We know to do it in remembrance of Jesus and what He has accomplished for us, but why do we do this? We take communion to remember the gravity of Jesus’ sacrifice and what that means for our own lives and for our eternity.
Because churches are no longer able to gather physically during this season, communion is something you can encourage your church to partake right in their homes. This image of family and friends, all gathered together in a room, sharing a meal and celebrating Jesus is not far off from the image of Jesus and His 12 disciples 2,000 years ago. Communion is not meant to be merely a tradition that only a select few can give or only the perfect can receive.
Communion is for everyone who believes in Jesus and wants to receive the results of what He has done for them.
With communion comes not only a reminder of Jesus but a heart in the agreement of what Jesus offers through His blood and His body.
Jesus offers healing. Jesus offers wholeness. Jesus offers forgiveness.
Although we are unable to gather with our church family and celebrate communion together, we can still gather with our family in our own homes and remember what Jesus has done for us.
P.S. It doesn’t need to be juice and bread either, you can use anything you want for communion as long as you are using it to remember what Jesus accomplished. Even Doritos and Pepsi work just fine!
One of the things members of your community may really miss about Easter service is the opportunity to gather, in their Sunday’s best, and arrive at church all dressed up. When you’re stuck at home all day, every day, the motivation to get ready starts to fade away a bit.
One great way to get your community to get involved is to hold an Easter photo contest. You can do a myriad of different types of challenges - from the best-dressed family to the funniest Easter bunny costume. Not only is this a fun way to interact with your community, but it also brings a sense of normalcy to an otherwise abnormal time. The simple act of getting ready for Easter service can be something that uplifts those in your community.
You could even involve an incentive in the photo competition. You can offer the winner of your competition a gift card for a local restaurant, free church merch, and more.
There are many things you can do to truly maximize this moment in church history as we approach Easter, but one of the best things you can do is to share stories of hope. We are living in a time where people are lacking hope, and those without it are diligently seeking it. We know that Jesus brings the greatest hope of all, but what we can do to practically display this hope is by sharing how it has personally affected us.
Having people share stories of how they have experienced hope from Jesus during this trying time is a beautiful way to display what God has done. You can go as professional as you want with this, but you can also have your congregants submit personal videos of their stories. This brings a level of authenticity during this time, and transparently showcases members of your community.
Overall, the goal this Easter is not to have the greatest live-stream service, amazing marketing, or perfect strategy. The goal is to make known the hope of Jesus to the broken world around us. It is to put on display God’s unfailing love that He demonstrated by sacrificing His Son Jesus. It is to make a big deal about who Jesus is and what He promises for humanity - hope, peace, joy, and love.
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