The time between Easter and the beginning of Summer is a critical time in the life of your church.
Whether Easter is early or late in the calendar, the time between what will probably be your best attended Sunday and the beginning of a time when church service attendance traditionally slumps is short. This year for example (2022) there are only six weeks from Easter Sunday until Memorial Day (the unofficial start to Summer).
Here are some tips on how to keep the momentum going after the high point of Easter.
- Follow up quickly and intentionally with your Easter Sunday guests. Encourage their return by having a free gift with their name on it waiting for them at your Welcome Center. Invite them not only to return the following week but to participate in an upcoming (within 3 weeks) fellowship event designed for them. We called ours ‘Pizza with the Pastor.’
- Begin a new message series on Easter Sunday or the Sunday following that speaks to the needs of non-church going person. I would often begin a new series on Marriage or Parenting, something that is relatable to most everyone. You could also speak to the questions that gnaw on just about everyone, Why Does God Allow Suffering? Is Jesus the Only Way to God? Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? (This one you could begin on Easter Sunday)
- Have a free movie night featuring a faith-based film. Studios often will release their faith-based films just before Easter when you may arrange a movie night at a local theatre. Over the years I have screened faith-based movies from the Kendrick brothers like, Fireproof, Courageous, and War Room. Popular books turned into movies like Heaven is for Real, Breakthrough and most of Lee Stroebel’s The Case for series. Even popular Contemporary Christian songs like I Still Believe and Gods Not Dead have attracted a healthy movie audience. Invite your congregation to attend a specific showing at the theatre or for a small fee you may get an early release DVD to view at your church. Currently Lee Stroebel’s The Case for Heaven has just been released in 2022.
- Start up a church softball team that is open for new folks to join. Team sports in the Spring are a great way to incorporate new folks into fellowship in a non-threatening way after Easter. When I began attending church as a seeker, I was invited to play on the church’s basketball team. After a few weeks of playing with those guys I began thinking that Christians aren’t as weird as I thought. Softball teams can be for men only or co-ed and if you get too many to sign up you can always add more teams. In the last church I pastored we had four teams with over sixty players participating, many of who started playing soon after Easter.
- Host a church picnic just before Memorial Day. The weather should be nice, most of your members would not have gone away yet for a summer vacation, and a picnic is a casual way to incorporate new people into relationships with others. Just be sure to alert your members not to hang out only with the friends they have already made at church, but to reach out to unfamiliar faces knowing that they are new to the church.
- Remind all of your people, new and old that church activities continue on throughout the summer and that you look forward to seeing them at upcoming events like, outdoor movie nights, concerts in the park, and VBS.
- Expect growth. At our Easter Sunday services I hung a banner on the outside of the church building for all to see in the weeks to come. “Come Celebrate Easter EVERY Sunday.” Church growth happens incrementally, building attendance from one big day to the next one. Of course, you are not going to have as many worshippers in attendance on the Sunday after Easter, but if you have planned well you can expect to have more that you did before Easter. Keep the momentum going after Easter by intentionally following up with your guests and expecting your members to continue to invite their friends, family and co-workers up until and through Summer.
BOLD STATEMENT: There are only four things that actually grow churches.
For over four decades, we’ve been studying growing churches and we’ve been studying declining churches, always looking to discover the why’s and wherefore’s of the difference. We’ve observed that it’s not the church’s age. It’s the not church’s size. It’s not their location. It’s not their theology. And it’s not their worship style.
Sure, all of those may play a factor, but we’ve found growing churches in the most unlikely of places and circumstances. And when we studied these churches, we realized that every one of them were laser focused on the same four key processes.
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