4 Ways Churches Can Prepare for Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is just a few days away, and while it may appear to be too late to start any new efforts for your Easter service, there are still some things you can do. Here are a few of them.

1- Utilize social media ads.

Social media is a great tool for today’s churches. Most social media outlets allow you to create ads and then target a very specific demographic. The cost is usually low and the exposure is great. Just be sure it is a professional looking ad. An ad that looks like it was thrown together will do more to hurt your efforts than help.

2- Encourage church members to follow-up with those they have already invited.

Hopefully those in your church have been inviting people to your Easter services. While attending your Easter service may be a priority for you and other members of your church, it probably isn’t for those who have been invited.

As Easter Sunday moves closer, there is a tendency for those who have been invited to start having second thoughts, make other plans, and back out of their commitment to attend. Following up with those who have been invited is necessary.

3- Develop a plan for visitor follow-up.

It is great to have visitors, but a great opportunity has been lost if follow-up doesn’t happen. Develop a plan to follow-up with visitors that utilizes members in the process. Perhaps various small groups or Sunday School classes can reach out to those who have visited. Maybe you need to develop a ministry team for this purpose.

The point is that visitor follow-up does not need to be rooted in the staff alone; get others involved.

4- Pray…Pray…Pray

This is by far the most important thing you can do. Planning and preparation is not a substitute for God working. No matter how great the sermon, pastors cannot change hearts. No matter how moving the music, it cannot make spiritually dead men alive. Only God can do these things.

Pray for God to prepare hearts leading up to Easter.

Pray for God to work in and through the service.

Pray for God to prepare you, the pastor.

Pray for lives to be changed.

Pray that God will do what only God can do.

Easter is a great opportunity to reach people. And while Easter Sunday is only a few days away, there are still things you can do to make a difference in people’s lives. Take advantage of these last few days, and as a result, you will see the fruit from it.

5 Reasons the Future of the Southern Baptist Convention is Bright

The church I pastor is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. While the SBC is not perfect, I am excited about its future. Here are five reasons why.

1- The Seminaries

Someone once said, “As go the educational institutions, so goes the movement.” While, I don’t know who made that statement, I believe it to be true. Educational institutions set the sails for movements and denominations. When one looks at the seminaries of the SBC, there is reason for great confidence. The flagship seminary of the SBC, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY is thriving. It, and other SBC seminaries, are producing doctrinally conservative, gospel-focused ministers and educators.

As I meet graduates of the SBC seminaries, I am continually impressed with the quality that is being produced.

2- The Focus on Missions

David Platt’s passion for the nations is well-known. Since taking control of the International Mission Board (IMB), it seems that his passion for world missions has been spreading throughout SBC churches. While difficult decisions had to be made in order to move the IMB toward greater fiscal responsibility, the goal of spreading the gospel to the unreached peoples is taking root.

The future of missions is bright within the SBC.

3- The ERLC

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission led by Dr. Russell Moore is doing a wonderful job helping churches navigate difficult social issues. God’s timing is perfect. Since his election to this position in 2013, our country has seen a barrage of social issues that are difficult to navigate. Moore’s voice within the ERLC has been a guiding influence for which the church should be thankful.

As more issues arise, I pray for the ERLC’s continued gospel-focused influence.

4- The Renewed Focus on Evangelism

If I took anything away from following this last year’s convention, it was the focus on evangelism and the need to pray for spiritual revival. This is obviously a focus of the SBC’s president, Steve Gaines, as it was for his predecessor at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN, Adrian Rodgers.

A renewed focus on evangelism, prayer for revival, and a sincere desire to see God change lives will do nothing but further the Gospel-witness of the SBC.

5- Unity

The biggest storyline from last year’s convention was the election of Steve Gaines as the new SBC president. Perhaps that is not the story as much as is how it happened. After two rounds of voting (choosing between Gaines and J. D. Greear) failed to produce a majority vote in favor of either candidate, Greear withdrew his candidacy for the sake of unity within the SBC.

Greear stated, “I’ve spent a good amount of time praying and I believe for the sake of our convention and our election we need to leave St. Louis united. … We are united by a Gospel too great, and a mission too urgent, to let a lesser message stand in our way. I am respectfully withdrawing my candidacy as president.”

More recently, there are has been some tension between the ERLC and some SBC churches. I am encouraged by fact that the leadership of the ERLC and the Executive Committee of the SBC appear committed to unity.

These demonstrations of unity will go a long way in preserving unity within the Convention that is needed to further gospel-ministry.

While there are probably other bright spots that could be highlighted, these are five areas I think are helping to propel the SBC forward.

5 Benefits of Big Days

This past Sunday our church had a big day. We highlighted our after school program that ministers to over 110 families in our community. We spent over a month personally inviting all of them, we sent mailers, we offered a free lunch, and we scheduled the kids in the after school program to sing in one of our morning worship services.

The result? We had over 40 visiting families (most of them unchurched). Here are some of the benefits I have noticed to having big days such as the one we had last week.

1- It builds excitement in the church.

Just the thought of having a big day builds excitement. But when the planned big day turns out to actually be a BIG day, the excitement continues. People love to see the church building overflowing with people. They see that with some hard work it is possible to have a lot of visitors.

2- It exposes your church to more people.

The vast majority of those who attended our big day had never attended before. It was their first exposure to our worship service. Some of the people I talked to had preconceived ideas about our church that were not accurate. Them coming allowed that to be corrected.

Now, as a result of our big day, more people know who we are and what we do.

3- It increases your prospects list.

This is common sense, but because of how we encourage visitors to complete guest registrations cards (read about that HERE), we now have many more prospects with which to follow-up.

4- It leads to increased attendance.

Many studies have been conducted that support this fact. Whenever a church has a big day where attendance significantly spikes up, ongoing attendance remains higher than it was before the big day. Obviously, not all who attended will continue to attend, but some will. Some members who have not been attending regularly will see the excitement the church has about reaching out and be drawn back in to regular attendance.

5- It is an opportunity to preach the gospel to the unchurched.

This is by far the most important point. Big days provide the opportunity to preach the gospel to people who may have never heard it before. We should be encouraged by the fact that Jesus was proclaimed to people who have not yet acknowledged their need for Christ.

Are big days a lot of work? Yes. Do big days require the involvement of many volunteers? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Schedule several big days throughout the year and you, too, will see the many benefits.