Every church I know works hard to create a great Easter experience. Traditional churches are practicing their choirs and cantatas. Others put and an enormous amount of work into a passion play. Contemporary churches are learning a new song and decorating creatively but all of us are trying to put our best foot forward.
Here’s the truth
The frustrating part of Easter is: With all those hours put in, most guests will not remember what songs we sang, if the drama was good or recall most sermons.
So what will a guest remember about your Easter service?
They will remember how they FELT in your church.
I know it’s important to preach the gospel. I know it’s important to praise the Lord and to pray. If guests are nervous of feel unwelcome they are less likely to receive the gospel or the presence of God.
I hope if you’re reading this blog, you don’t make the mistakes that some declining churches make, of berating those that only come on holidays. I once heard a preacher say, “It’s nice to see a full church for Easter but what would be great is if you all came back next week.” While I agree with his intention (to get people to come back) that’s not the way to do it. What guests were hearing was that the preacher was mad at them because they only came on Easter. Guess what will happen?
Next Easter they will choose another church or worse…choose not to go to church at all!
Make guests feel welcome, as you would do in your home. Give them free coffee and a cookie. Most important greet them. Smile, shake their hand, and introduce yourself. Encourage your members to do the same.
People who feel welcome will like your church but not remember why. They’ll have an ’emotional memory’ that will make them more open to returning when you invite them back.
When I talk to someone who has been attending our church for a month or more, and I ask them about the music or sermon they day they first attended they hesitate. They have trouble recalling those details but they can always recall how they felt.
I hear phrases in our church such as “I felt safe.” or “I genuinely felt like people were glad I was here.” What they are describing is an emotional memory.
How will they feel on the drive home from your Easter service?
Church Leaders should also read: What is the Most Important Part of Easter?