All bonnets are beautiful. Cait_Stewart flickr.com
Quick movie review: Black Panther. Four stars. Two thumbs up. If you can get past how loud it is and the (relatively bloodless) fighting you will be inspired. Wakanda forever!
Now, back to Easter.
Yes, Easter’s almost here. Don't freak out, but according to one article, It's the Super Bowl of Church. And they may be right – after surveying 1,000 pastors, a whopping
93% said Easter was the service that had the most visitors during the year.
This was followed by Christmas (84%) and Mother’s Day (59%).
Now don’t start hyperventilating on me…it’ll all be OK. You’ve still got a couple of weeks. What are you doing to prepare for your new visitors on Easter Sunday? Here are five quick suggestions:
1. Be authentic. It’s an over-used word, but for this particular Sunday, being authentic is really important. One of my favorite posts on this topic is: “The Dangers of Bait and Switch Easter Sunday.” Yes, you want to step up your game, but if your Easter “game” is so over the top (think fog machines or a professional choir) that when a visitor returns on any given Sunday and it’s underwhelming, you have outed yourself as being inauthentic.
2. Share what makes your congregation unique and special. In order to do that, you’ll have to determine what makes you stand out. If you’re unsure, brainstorm five things that your congregation does that others don’t. Share it on social media. Send an email to your leadership council. Have your leadership council share it with their committees. Encourage your folk to share at least one or two of these unique and special things when they engage with someone new.
3. Avoid jargon. It’s so easy for us insiders to slide right into using insider words and acronyms. UMW, IHN, CHP, UMCOR, narthex, liturgist. You don’t mean to make visitors left out, but that’s what happens. Don’t do it…at least not on purpose.
4. Clean up. Following that old adage, “make your guests feel like family and your family feel like guests,” take a moment to sweep, dust, and mow the lawn. Make sure the bathrooms are sparkling and stocked. It’s all in the details and it’s what visitors will notice.
5. Love your visitors. This doesn’t mean overwhelm folks by glomming on to them. “Oh! You're a visitor! We never have visitors! Do you want to join the Trustee Committee?” It does mean notice them. Be warm and friendly…and (here’s that word again) authentic. Coach your congregation on the 3/10 Rule: Three minutes before the service and three minutes afterward, introduce yourself to someone you haven't met. If there is anyone within ten feet of you that you haven't met, say hello.
Easter is the time to spread the joy of God’s unending love. It’s also the time to share that love with people who are brave enough to visit you, especially if they don’t know a soul in your congregation. Make their experience one that they will remember. Not because of the pyrotechnics, but because you have shown them a place where God’s love is real and in action.