In just a few weeks Easter Sunday will here, and hopefully spring time along with it. One thing that is sure to come with Easter Sunday, according to a recent Gallup poll, is an increase in church attendance on that particular Sunday. Research Gallup has conducted in past years has shown that anywhere between 62% and 64% of Americans say they plan to attend church on Easter. That can be contrasted with the more typical attendance patterns by which about 4 out of 10 Americans tell Gallup interviewers that they either attended church within the last seven days, or that they attend at least once a week or almost every week. Now, I am not a great mathematician, but even I know that these statistics tell us that there will be a 20% average increase in church attendance Easter Sunday.
In light of this information, I would like to challenge us all with some things that we can be doing in the weeks leading up to Easter, as well as on Easter Sunday, to maximize the potential of an increase in a willingness of people to come to church and therefore an increase in attendance here at South.
First, I would challenge us all in regard to PII (pray, invest, invite). Since there is a 20% increase in willingness to go to church, begin now to pray for someone you would like to see come to our Easter service. Also, look for ways to invest your time and energy in that person; thereby giving you opportunities to ultimately invite them to our Easter Sunday service. To help you with the invite part, we have created some invite cards geared especially for Easter Sunday. Please feel free to take however many you need and use them to invite people to church who are 20% more likely to say ‘yes’.
Second, I would challenge us all in regard to where you park on Easter Sunday. If more people are willing to come on Easter Sunday, and we want them to come to our church, then we need to make sure we make room for them in our parking lot. Specifically, we want to make sure that we leave parking spots available for them near our main entrances. Therefore, my challenge would be that for those of us who are able, park farther away from the main entrances, using the parking spots by the back field. This will mean a farther walk for us, which may be inconvenient, but it will mean a much more convenient parking spot and therefore a much more pleasant overall experience for a guest.
Third, I would challenge us all in regard to who we talk to on Easter Sunday. If you are like me, I am much more comfortable talking with those I know very well, and therefore I have a natural tendency to avoid people I don’t know very well. In light of this, imagine what it might be like for a guest who comes to church on Easter Sunday. Since they will know very few, if anyone, from the church, we need to be the ones who step out of our comfort zone and talk with them. So, look around you on Easter Sunday, find a person or two who don’t look familiar to you, and strike up a conversation with them.
Finally, I would challenge us all in regard to where we sit on Easter Sunday. Once again, if more people are willing to come on Easter Sunday, and we want them to come, then we need to make sure we make room for them in auditorium. Specifically, we need to make sure that we leave room for them in the two sections of pews by the doors leading into the auditorium. We shouldn’t make it hard for our guests to find a place to sit, and those two sections of pews are the easiest places to sit. Therefore, my challenge would be that more people sit in the two sections of pews furthest away from the main doors, leaving the easy to find seats available for our guests.
I certainly am looking forward to Easter. I am looking forward to a day of celebrating both the death and resurrection of Christ, and the victory we are given over sin and death. I am also looking forward to the opportunity we are going to have that day to be a steward of the guests that God is going to send our way. You have a role to play in how we do at being a steward. I pray that you will step up to the challenges given, so that we are a good steward of the guests we might have and so that they might be that much more receptive to the life-changing truth of Christ.