I know we just got through Christmas and New Year’s, but I have to put this bug in your ear. You may hate me after saying this, but we simply cannot ignore what’s just right around the bend in the near future.
WE’RE ONLY 12 SUNDAYS AWAY FROM EASTER!!!
That’s it. Have you looked it up on the calendar yet? Easter is super early this year. It’s the last Sunday of March and that’s only twelve Sundays away. As a pastor, God gave you one of the greatest gifts you could receive. It’s the Super Bowl for churches and you get to play in that game every year. Plus, it’s the one Sunday out of the year that everyone feels compelled to go to church.
For you and me, part of being a good steward is doing the most we can possibly do with Easter each year. That means you have to plan. You have to prepare. You have to get your church ready. Allow me to challenge you in a few areas.
1. What will be the universal direction of your message?
Now, there’s an obvious answer to that question and then a not-so-obvious answer. You know the obvious answer, right? The direction of your message will be centered about the resurrection. The not-so-obvious answer, though, is how you’re going to teach that story in a fresh, new way that will challenge believers and non-believers alike. Put some thought into it and I’m confident that the Holy Spirit will work in you to give you a new message for Easter this year.
2. What kind of attendance do you anticipate?
In fact, I would challenge you to set a goal. My goal each year is to double our average attendance going into Easter. You may think that’s just for the sake of numbers, and you would be correct. I WANT MORE NUMBERS. Do you know why? It’s because every number represents a name for whom Jesus died for on the cross. If each of those numbers are important to God, they should each be important to you!
Here’s the thing about a goal. A good goal sets your direction. It directs your focus. It directs your energy. Without it, you’ll coast. Without it, you’ll settle. So, set a goal. You don’t have to announce it to your church. Keep it internal with your staff and leadership. Set the attendance goal and then pray it up and plan on it.
3. How many extra volunteers will you need?
If you hit the attendance goal, how many volunteers will you need. What’s your average children’s attendance right now? If you hit your attendance goal for Easter and you maintain the same children’s attendance average, how many children will attend? Now, how many volunteers do you need just for children’s ministry? If every volunteer serves on Easter Sunday, will that be enough? If not, recruit more and get them trained up.
Easter is a great Sunday to ask those not already serving on a ministry team to serve just one Sunday. It’s like a special event. Recruit them, train them, and plug them in.
4. How will you market your Easter services?
Different marketing works better in different places. One thing I know for sure that will work for you is invite cards. It’s dirt cheap to order thousands of business cards with your Easter service information on the card. Then give 10-packs of those cards to your people to pass out like candy in your community.
Again, I know Easter seems like months away and you have plenty of time, BUT, create the the timeline. You want invite cards in the hands of your people at least three weeks in advance of Easter Sunday. That means two weeks prior to that you have to order the cards. That means the cards have to be designed and approved a week before that. Finally, that means the graphics for Easter have to be designed a week before that. Count up those weeks and you need to start that process the end of January.
Another idea that I’ve found to be effective and affordable in my community (and I believe every community costs differently) is movie theater advertising. If you’re in a relatively small community, this may be a great option. I live in a community with one movie theater. It’s only $350 to run an ad for 4 weeks prior to Easter. That’s a 30-second ad that runs prior to every movie, for every time scheduled on every day. That’s a ton of airtime! However, it takes time and preparation to set that in motion. You have to get a quote for the movie theater corporation. You have to sign the contract. The video has to be written, taped and post-produced.
The good thing is that you’re reading an article from a coach who’s pushing you to implement this stuff with plenty of time to spare! Now is the time. Plan it. Prepare it. Then watch God work through you!
Be Blessed, Scott