By Bruce Chesser
President, Tennessee Baptist Convention
More people will attend church on Easter than any other day of the year. But the reality is that you must plan to make it special. It will not just happen.
Let’s start with the basics. Pray. Call your people to pray. Have prayer gatherings. Have people designated throughout the times of your services to pray for God to move. Never forget that He is the One who must work in the hearts and lives and people.
We often look at prayer as though it is our last alternative. You even hear people say, “all we can do now is pray.” The truth is that it should be our first inclination and then we would say, “all we can do now is work hard …. or go to the doctor … or take the medicine” or whatever it is that you are praying about. Pray.
Try this: designate people throughout your worship center that will be responsible to pray throughout the service for people sitting in their designated area. Pray.
Then plan. You will never grow to reach more people and be able to disciple those people unless you first plan to do it. A church of less than 100 must prepare and plan as though they are going to be a church of more than 100. And on up the scale it goes.
A church of 300 must plan and prepare as though they are a church of 500. Plan as though you are going to have the opportunity to reach more people than ever before.
Make people feel welcome. Have people in the parking lot with a smile on their face and a warm handshake welcoming every person that attends. Have more people at the door opening the door for them and welcoming them inside. Have more people ready to help them find a seat in the worship center. And a word to pastors: do not use this as an opportunity to chide people or tease people about not being there anytime but Easter or Christmas. Be grateful that they are there that day. Make them feel like it is their church and that you are truly excited and thankful for their presence.
And then make sure they hear the gospel. Do not try to be too cute and current. Just tell the old, old story. What people need to know more than anything else is that God loves them, and that Jesus died in their place on the old rugged cross and that if they will turn to Him and repent of their sin, He will save them. You can’t improve on that.
I would even suggest that you try to sing at least a song or two that most every person present will know and be able to sing. Most people know “Amazing Grace” or “The Old Rugged Cross.”
Make Easter a time of celebration and excitement. It is the greatest story ever told. It is the week that changed the world.
If you need any suggestion or ideas I would be glad to try to help you (email@example.com) or you can contact the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. Contact Sharlyn Ricks (in Dr. Roc Collins’ office) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-558-2090 and she will be glad to get you in touch with someone that can help you!