8 Steps to Ensure Success on Easter Sunday and Beyond
Easter is the most significant day in the life of the church. More people will walk through the doors of your church on Easter Sunday than on any other day of the year. The church failing to market Easter would be like Doritos not marketing for Super Bowl Sunday. It would be absurd — more people are watching on that day than any other. Likewise, more people will come to your church on Easter Sunday than any other day of the year. According to Jim Davidson, a Purdue professor of philosophy and religion, overall church attendance increases approximately 25% on Easter!
Unfortunately, Easter is forgettable. The media doesn’t hype Easter like it does Christmas. It doesn’t have a countdown. To make it worse, Easter falls on a different Sunday every year. Despite its significance to the church, it’s frequently overlooked by both our communities and in our outreach planning. Often we fail to plan, and we miss out on a unique opportunity to impact our communities. Easter is your Super Bowl. We believe that, if you plan accordingly, it will be your most significant outreach event of the year.
Planning for Easter has a Two fold Importance:
1st – Get people through the door to hear the message of Christ.
2nd – Make them feel so welcome, loved, and appreciated that they have no choice but to come back for more.
Step #1: Know your Guests.
Begin praying about your sermon now. I plead with you to ask the Lord what He wants to say to the unchurched in your community this Easter.
Many of you have different doctrines, varying teaching styles, and diverse congregations. Remember that, on Easter Sunday, many people in your church will be first-time guests, and some are even first-time church-goers. They will not be familiar with church culture, so now is the time to reach out and make a difference for the Kingdom. Your congregation will come back next week, but you only have a small window to reach these newcomers.
Step #2: Be Creative.
Super Bowl Sunday is famous for having the most creative commercials on prime-time television. More people are watching that day than any other. Similarly, more guests will be watching on Easter than any other day, so… Do something they will remember!
Examples of creativity:
Have a sunrise service.
Have a massive Easter egg hunt and give away great prizes.
Put on a special play or production.
Give everyone lilies as gifts.
BE REALISTIC. You don’t have to entertain . Rather find ways to creatively love the people who walk through your door. Get your communities talking about church again.
Step #3: Advertise your Event
My kids are still talking about the Doritos commercial from the Super Bowl. In thirty seconds their minds were branded with a company name and product. That company was in the right place at the right time. Easter is your time. Seize the opportunity to bring people in, hear the Truth, and be transformed. Invite your community to your Easter service.
Step #4: Welcome your Guests.
From the parking lot to the front doors, to their seats and your sermon, cater to each person as a personal guest of Jesus Christ. Meet with your staff and servant leaders ahead of time to prepare them for Easter. Vision-cast your plans for Easter Sunday, and be absolutely certain that new guests feel welcome.
Now is also the time to get your ministries up-to-date. Many of your Easter guests are coming to God’s house for the very first time. Prepare your congregation to welcome newcomers.
If you do not have a parking ministry and greeter team, form one. According to research, people establish a first impression in approximately 7-10 seconds, long before they hear the pastor or the music!
You have an obligation to welcome guests into God’s house with the love and warmth that He has shown you. This may seem elementary, but I cannot tell you how many unchurched people have said to me, “We have visited so many churches in the area, and yours is the only church that made me feel welcome.” Parking, greeting, and usher teams are paramount. They set the stage for everything else.
Step #5: Follow up with Guests.
Your follow-up shows the guest that you truly care about what they are going through and any needs they may have. Love them by showing them you remember their presence in your church and you desire their return.
To do this, you need to capture pertinent information about each first-time guest and perform some form of follow-up. An easy way to do this is with your “First -time Guest Card”. This is a small card that each guest receives when he or she enters your church. It includes a place for these guests to record their personal information, prayer requests, and how they heard of the church. Ask your guests to fill it out and have your ushers collect it.
Step #6: Give a Gift.
Don’t ask your first-time guests for anything. Let them know their presence is their gift to you. A practical way to do this is to give them a welcome gift. Have your ushers collect the “First -time Guests Cards” and give the gift. This not only provides you with an accurate count of how many guests you have each Sunday but shows your guests that you care about welcoming them. When we come to Christ, He doesn’t ask for anything more than our hearts. Make sure your guests know that you’re after them because you love them, not for what you can get out of them. It’s human nature to reciprocate when one is given a gift. A new guest’s return may be what he or she chooses to give back to you.
Step #7: Leave Them Crying out for More.
If you told every guest you would give them $100 to return the week after Easter, your chances of his or her return would be high. Returning is an issue of value in the minds of your guests. Is what you have worth the investment of their time? If I said, “Come to my church, and I can make your marriage the best it has ever been, your kids will never do drugs, and your sex life will improve,” you would come to my church. We know that your church cannot give out hundred dollar bills or solve all of your guests’ marriage problems in one sermon series. However, in Christ you have the answers to life’s deepest questions. It’s your job to entice them with glimpses of biblical wisdom and truth that address their needs and encourage them to return for more.
Step #8: Offer them a Message of Value.
Offer people something they know they need to hear. By beginning a new sermon series the week after Easter, or even on Easter Sunday, you create anticipation in your visitors that there is something valuable for them if they return. In a 2007 Gallup Panel survey, researchers asked 562 adults about their usual church-attending behavior and followed up with an open-ended question asking them to explain their attendance in their own words. The majority responded, “For growth and guidance.” They believe that the church has something valuable to offer. On the flip-side, when 439 adults were asked the reason for their lack of attendance the majority answered, “Lack of belief in religion and lack of time.”
The first group is seeking answers to their deepest needs ; they are seeking value. Your church can be a place that leads people to satisfaction in the areas of life they value most. The second group doesn’t recognize church or religion as offering them anything of worth. They don’t invest their time in it because they are then unable to see its value. Your job is to show them that what you offer is more than just a social gathering or a religion; it’s truth, answers, relationships, and so much more!
You offer a relationship with Christ, the one thing that can give them the true desires of their hearts and satisfy them to their core. When people catch a glimpse of Christ they can’t help but come looking for more. Show them Christ. Show them the one thing that will satisfy the very depths of their beings and always cause them to cry out for more. Make your Easter message, and those following, valuable in the eyes of your guests.
Easter is your Super Bowl… Treat it as such! Plan accordingly, and execute it with excellence. Practical ways to do this are by knowing your guests, getting creative, and advertising your event. Through even the simplest actions, like greeting your guests and giving gifts, ensure they understand that you are inviting them in to give them what they are searching for. You have a captive audience. Seize the opportunity to do something great in the life of your community.
If you choose to advertise your Easter service, it should be done with excellence. Don’t trust your advertising for this special day to just anyone. Call one of our church consultants today. We will build a postcard mailing program for you that is as unique as your church. You will have the opportunity to work with an experienced church marketing consultant every step of the way. We will design a custom program specially for your church. Every detail will be addressed to ensure the maximum effectiveness for your Easter outreach marketing efforts.