The stirring words of S.M. Lockridge’s great message titled, “It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming!” have gone viral on social media in the past few years.  His words paint a vivid picture of the passion and the resurrection of Christ that serve as inspiration for many.  To borrow the verbiage of Pastor Lockridge, “It’s March, but Easter is coming!”  My question is will the church be ready?

Easter of 2020 was the first Easter in modern history that most churches were not able to gather in person to celebrate the resurrection.  Currently, it appears that on Easter 2021 we are going to be able to have in-person gatherings for many people, as the COVID-19 cases are trending downward and more people are being vaccinated.

In fact, many churches are planning to resume more of their in-person gatherings in the next few weeks.  As someone who is well-experienced preaching to a camera in an almost empty room, I can’t wait to gather with the church this year. Pastor, I want to encourage you to not let Easter “slip up” on you this year and maximize this great opportunity.  Here are few things that could help you prepare for your Easter celebration.

First, pastors have a great opportunity to encourage their congregations to invite people to the Easter celebration. I know that the past year has been especially tiring for pastors and ministry leaders. The daily facing of the unknown, and the decision fatigue that has come with it, has taken a toll.

Our church family is facing the same challenges, and while everyone is anxious to resume some sense of normalcy, the weariness is still there.  Pastors, we have a great opportunity to encourage our church families to invite others to join them this Easter. I think the challenges of the last year are creating a fresh opportunity to reach out with the Good News. Challenge your people to be faithful to share the invitation.

Second, pastors have a great opportunity to equip their congregations to invite people to the Easter celebrations. While we need to encourage the church to invite others, we also need to provide a plan and the tools to do so.

These plans could vary from “old school” to utilizing new approaches.  Some churches have been very effective in ministering to their church families by the simple phone call. A plan to call people who have not attended since the onset of the pandemic, along with calling family members and friends, is an effective, simple strategy.

Some churches are utilizing social media to invite people to their Easter celebrations through sharing invitations and information about the upcoming services.  Many churches are utilizing the “Who’s Your One” strategy from our North American Mission Board in preparation for Easter or as a follow-up to Easter.  A clear, simple plan that provides an opportunity to participate together provides a greater opportunity for involvement and impact.

Third, pastors have a great opportunity to engage their communities during the Easter season. The glimmer of hope that the pandemic is coming to an end comes at an opportune time. We have the opportunity to engage our communities that may be more open to that engagement than it has been in a long time. The past year has forced us to be more creative in making our connections. We had to change plans rapidly and rethink much of what we do and have done.

Leverage that creativity and innovation in the next few weeks. It’s not too late for your church to engage your community in a fresh way this Easter season.

My prayer is that we would not miss the opportunity that Easter 2021 will provide. It’s always a blessing to celebrate the resurrection!  Let’s not forget the privilege and responsibility we have to share that Good News as we celebrate. It’s March, but Easter’s coming!