Why is Easter a Good Time To Grow?
Easter Sunday represents so much on the church calendar. Celebration, resurrection, new life, and… a major spike in attendance. According to Thom Rainer, “…More inactive and less active church members attend on Easter, often to make their token annual appearance.” Rainer reports that the spike is due to the most church members showing up at the same time… not to the attendance of unchurched people.
The challenge is, how can we tailor our Easter activities to connect with our own inactive or semi-inactive members?
Below we offer 4 simple suggestions for your Easter planning that can grow your congregation.
1. Plan to activate the inactive.
Give careful attention to those already associated with, and just not active in, your church. Research who they are. Resist planning your service only for the unchurched and create a low-key but warm, reunion atmosphere. Family-based social promotion and “welcome back vibe” service experiences empower your church to attract and connect to the occasional church attenders coming for their “once a year” experience.
2. Get the names right.
Inwardly, your fringe attendees will feel a bit awkward because of their rare attendance. Easter IS NOT the Sunday to put your newest greeters on the job. Easter IS the Sunday to engage your veteran welcome team that never forgets a face.
If you use names tags, reach back in the database and pull out names you’ve dropped for not attending. Finding their names still on the roll will go a long way toward activating memories as to why they used to attend in the first place.
“Fringers” often show up out of obligation, yet the sense of connecting with folks that “know” them is a good thing – the Lord works through a warm welcome.
3. Make the invitation.
Inviting the “once a year” member to be a “more than once a year” member means Easter Sunday offers the opportunity to directly say, “Welcome back and stay awhile.” Create something as direct as a looping , “Welcome back/See what we’ve been up to” video in the lobby sitting on table next to your best greeter, inviting folks to a “get re-acquainted” event with great food and a place for them to RSVP right then. Casual, laid-back, friendly invitation wins – not the hard sell – though still ask for the commitment.
Put invitations on the seats and make a coordinated slide for the screen – with a hashtag and who to contact – will help remind the fringer there is a place to re-connect. Any combination of these actions can be effective when planned with the heart that many Easter attendees aren’t strangers – and we don’t treat family members like strangers.
4. If you “Kid” it, they will come.
One of the best things Easter Sunday offers is a colorful, kid-friendly moment. Maximize that for the “families on the fringe.” Reach into the data archives and plan for low-attending folks that have kids.
Create a photo op/photo booth (or other station) that is super kid-friendly and doubles as an opportunity to share about your great post-Easter follow up kids program.
“Six Weeks Of Superheroes” for kids, after Easter, can capture the hearts of the kids –which means kids enthusiastically “encouraging” their parents to bring them back. Sign them up and give them a refrigerator reminder. God’s plan at work in multiple generations activated on Easter – what could be better?
With some targeted planning, a team effort, and great resources, you can make the most out of Easter Sunday with your congregation.