In Part 1, I asked the question: "How does your church do Easter Services" and gave you the options of "We Put More Time and Energy Into Easter than Any/Most Other Sundays" or "We Put the Same Time and Energy Into Easter as Any Other Sunday".
Although there wasn't a huge turnout of opinions, the results seemed split down the middle.
Here's how our church views Easter.
Easter is one of the only Sundays of the year that many people will enter our church building. Most of those people who only show up on Easter are far from God, either because they have never really met Him, or because they have chosen to run from Him.
We also realize that most people are not going to change their minds about church and God and Christians based on one Sunday morning, no matter what we do. Most people come to know and appreciate God based on personal relationships with those who already know and appreciate Him.
We aim to be excellent in everything that we do, all of the time. We certainly come up short a whole lot, but we try to put the same amount of energy and time and creativity into each and every Sunday. Our goal is that, a person will be interested in our church (and our people, and our God) just as much or even more during their second visit as they were during their first. The only sincere way to make sure that happens is to be constantly good every week at what we do.
It's for these reasons (and a few more) that we do not go all out on Easter Sunday to try and attract or retain first-time, unchurched guests. We don't do a big cantata (what the heck is a "cantata" anyway?) or musical, we don't invite a fire-breathing evangelist in as a guest speaker, and we don't cover the church with purple cloth and white flowers.
Now, I'm not saying that, if your church does any or all of those things, you're doing something wrong. All I'm saying is that we've decided doing those things would be wrong of us. We've figured out that none of those things are going to attract or retain first-time, unchurched guests in our culture/community (in fact, most of those things would probably repulse them), and none of those things in any way, shape or form represent who we are the other 51 Sundays of the year.
We want people to like us for who we are, not for who we are on Easter Sunday. We want people to come to know the God of every day, not just the God we might want to present on Easter Sunday.
And, I'm not saying that Easter is no different than any other Sunday. Easter is the one day that all of Christianity sets aside to devote completely to remembering what Christ did for us by dying and rising from the dead. We do a few things differently on Easter...we always present a clear opportunity to begin a relationship with God for the first time (we don't do this so emphatically every Sunday), we usually introduce a new song or two because it's so easy to do with such a clear theme, and we always anticipate a larger than usual crowd.
And, just in case you were wondering, we had our largest crowd ever this past Sunday! A dozen people indicated that they were starting a relationship with God for the first time, and several first-time, unchurched guests indicated they are interested in coming again!