We are less than a month out from Easter – that wonderful weekend of the year when we remember and celebrate the clearest demonstration of God’s love for his people – sending his son to the cross for those, like me, who don’t deserve this incredible act of grace.
The Easter weekend is also the weekend when the greatest number unbelieving folk walk into our gathering. Get that – they walk into Trinity City and 5pm Church under their own steam.
So how can you plan to make the most of this opportunity – not only for those that you meet that weekend at church, but also for those friends, family and colleagues who you might find will easily accept your invitation.
Here are some suggestions:
- Start praying now. Write a list of those you could invite and start praying that their hearts might be open and their legs willing to come along. While you are at it, pray that their ears may hear the best news that anyone could ever tell them – and that they might give their lives to Christ. You may find it helpful to pray also for yourself. Inviting a friend to church for many can be scary (why is it so much easier to invite a mate to the pub, but so difficult to invite them to a place where living water is served!?)
- Work out what is going on at Church over Easter. It makes sense that if you are going to invite someone to church at Easter that you know what is actually going on. The Trinity City website will have the details (as will the cards given at church). But take a step further – think about what will most challenge the person/s you are inviting – and invite them specifically to that event or gathering. Don’t shy away from the challenge. Often we think about the gathering that will be most comfortable – forget that, pick the gathering which is best placed to challenge your friend by telling them the gospel.
- Consider how you might ease the pain or uncertainty for your friend. This may seem to contradict the previous suggestion, but it doesn’t – let me explain. The goal is to get your friend to a place where they will hear the gospel and have the opportunity to respond. If you find it difficult to explain the gospel to them yourself, then let church do it for you. That means your job is to get them there. If it will help them, then invite them to something to help bridge the gap. For example in the next month have a dinner party or brunch with those you are inviting and also include others from 5pm Church so that familiar faces will ease the uncertainty. Or plan a BBQ immediately before the particular Easter event so that your friend can come to what they know and then accompany you to Church for the Easter gathering or event. I am sure there are many variations to this suggestion – have fun.
- Plan to be at Church over the Easter Weekend. If this is the weekend when the most number of unbelievers attend church, then ensure that when they come you are there! It is ironic, that Christians are the ones who know the significance of what Jesus has done on the cross, yet on the weekend when that is most clearly in focus, it is the unbelievers who often make it more of a priority to attend church! This is sad and a missed opportunity. Jesus did not die on the cross to give us a holiday weekend. See you at church as often as your friends can make it over the Easter weekend – and more!
- Follow-up. Well done. If you have made the most of the Easter weekend, regardless of whether those you have invited have come or not, then follow-up your friends. Invite them again to something that will bring them in contact with those they may have met at Easter – church the following weeks, another dinner or BBQ, a social event. Enjoy.
My prayer is that many who come at Easter and following will stand in front of Jesus, hear his cry, see how he died, and say ‘Surely this man was the Son of God’ (Mark 15:39).
We can be so ordered and intentional about what we do with our time and days – let’s not drop the bunny when it comes to Easter!