For most churches, Easter is easily the most important service of the year. You spend months preparing for this single weekend, and every year, you and your team work to outdo your previous services.
Why? Because more people attend church on this weekend than any other. Non-believers are more open to attending with their family and friends. People who only go a couple times a year make sure to be there. And on Easter, every member who can attend, will.
Whether you’re a veteran pastor with decades under your belt, or this is your very first Easter on church staff, there are always things you can do to help your church be more prepared.
Here are 10 things you can do right now help you pull off an excellent Easter service.
1. Recruit temporary volunteers
Easter is a time for all hands on deck. You need all your volunteers, and then some. More adults means more kids, so you’ll want more volunteers in children’s ministry. More cars in the parking lot means you may want more attendants helping people find a spot. And your ushers will be busy trying to fill the open seats, so they can probably use some extra hands, too.
You know well in advance that this is going to be a crazy time for your ministry teams, so the sooner you can start bolstering their numbers, the better.
In all likelihood, you have church members who have been on the fence about volunteering, but were afraid of making a big commitment. If you specifically ask for help with your Easter services and don’t require a long-term commitment, people will be a lot more willing to volunteer. They have less to lose by signing up, and this is one of the times their help is most needed.
Be sure to try a variety of methods to recruit volunteers, and even if you’re feeling desperate, try to take the time to place people in the roles they’ll be most successful in. Volunteers are instrumental when planning for Easter. Discover how else you can prepare for the upcoming celebration and pack out your service. Download the free ebook, How To Fill Up Your Church This Easter, to learn more!
2. Promote your Easter service on social media
Social media is a simple way to get your message out to your members and those outside your church. Used strategically, it can be a highly effective tool to increase Easter attendance.
You can do a number of things: Use your sermon intro or another Easter-related video to tease the service or quote a passage about the empty tomb. You can even offer a reflection on the importance of Easter or give some interesting facts about the resurrection, the history of Easter, or the reliability of the gospels. You could talk about what’s going to be special about your Easter sermon or overall service, or simply remind people that everyone is welcome to join you and that this can be a special time for friends and family to celebrate together.
The point is to keep your service top of mind while posting something worth sharing.
Whatever social media channels you use, you should start promoting your Easter service a couple weeks in advance, and continue talking about it right up until it starts! In fact, even after your service starts, you could share the livestream of your service.
3. Encourage members to invite friends and family
Easter is one of the times people who don’t normally come to church are most willing to give it a shot. It’s also a time when families are already gathering to enjoy food and each other’s company. If ever there was a time for your members to invite their friends and family to church, it’s Easter.
This is definitely something you should talk about from the pulpit and in your announcements. You might even create physical invitations for people to pass out if they want.
4. Create a welcoming culture
When you have a ton of new people attending your service, it’s extra important that you make a good first impression. You want visitors to feel welcome when they walk through your doors—and your hospitality team can’t do that alone.
Every single one of your members is a representative of your church. Remind them of that, and encourage them to see themselves as part of your ministry on Easter Sunday. You might even establish a “5-foot rule.” If someone finds themselves within five feet of a visitor who’s not already engaged in a conversation, they should introduce themselves and welcome them.
5. Secure additional parking
More people means more cars. If your parking lot can’t handle significantly more vehicles, you may need to find more parking. Depending on how far away it is, you might also need to arrange to have a shuttle of some sort to transport people from the lot to your church.
Encourage able-bodied members to park further away, so visitors have an easier time finding spots. And of course, make sure your signage is up to date, your traffic flow is intuitive, and you have plenty of volunteers to guide visitors through your lot.
6. Develop a follow-up plan for church visitors
You’re going to have a surge of new people in your church. Some of them may come back on their own, but if you have a strong follow-up plan, you can significantly increase the number of visitors who return next week.
Consider creating an email welcome series that leads visitors to an appropriate next step.
7. Replace tech you can’t count on
Few things are more embarrassing than a technical failure in front of a bunch of strangers with high expectations. If you have equipment or software that’s been creating problems recently, this is a good time to replace it. You want every piece of your service to run smoothly, from kid check-in to worship to your livestream.
Since Easter is also a huge day for generosity, be sure to switch to a reliable giving platform before your service so you don’t have to worry about your giving platform crashing when members and visitors alike are trying to give.
8. Get better coffee
If you offer people coffee, it should at least be tolerable. A lot of churches have coffee, but it’s often so terrible that the only people who drink it are visitors and desperate coffee junkies. This may seem vain, but keep in mind: You’re going to be making a lot more first impressions during your Easter services. And if you serve bad coffee, your first impression will leave a bad taste in peoples’ mouths.
9. Update your church website and app
With more people thinking about going to church, it’s extra important that your church website has current information (especially about service times and location) because your website is one of the first places they’ll go to learn more about your church.
If there are any special parking instructions, you’ll definitely want to include those here, too. You might even consider temporarily adding an invitation to join you on Easter, so when new people check out your website, that’s one of the first things they see. At the Easter service and afterward, encourage people to download your church app so you can continue engaging with them. Many churches use push notifications and digital connect cards within their app to start a conversation with newcomers and encourage them to keep attending your church.
There’s only so much you and your team can do to prepare for something of this magnitude. And ultimately, God is the one who makes it all come together for his glory. Pray for the people who are going to walk through your doors, that He would open their hearts to your message. Pray for your staff and volunteers, who may be dealing with extra stress and anxiety right now. And pray that God would be at work in everything your church does on Easter Sunday.
Prepare for your best Easter yet
When your church thinks about outdoing past Easter services, it tends to put a heavy burden on your teaching pastor. The expectation to outdo yourself year after year is taxing. But the reality is that the sermon won’t be the only takeaway from Easter Sunday. From parking their car to interacting after the service, you want to create a comfortable and engaging atmosphere for every attendee.
Take a holistic approach to improve your service. As a team, talk through some of the challenges you’ve faced in years past and things that have gone well. Brainstorm ways to improve each aspect of your service and make it more accommodating to your guests. Feel free to explore Easter sermons laid out in this article.
Your Easter service is time to celebrate, but it’s also a huge opportunity for evangelism. So prepare to do both those things with excellence. Discover how else other growing churches are preparing for Easter. Download the free ebook, How To Fill Up Your Church This Easter, today!