Easter: A Perfect Day to Proclaim Generosity

Easter: A Perfect Day to Proclaim Generosity

                                                 Ohhhhhh, pretty lily.

What are you singing this Easter? I loves me my rockin’ Jesus music, but on Easter I’ll be warbling – even if no one else is – “Up from the grave He arose!!! With a mighty triumph o’er His foes!” In fact, feel free to give me a call right now and I’ll be happy to belt it out for you. That number gets me pumped up! In my vast research on this classic, I even found a reggae version (no, I am not kidding). See for yourself, you know you want to.
So your songs and hymns are picked out, the lilies are adorning the sanctuary, and you’re ready to put your best foot forward. But will people come? There’s a very good chance they will. According to a poll taken of 1,000 protestant pastors by LifeWay Research, Easter ranks #1 in attendance (93% vs. 84% for Christmas). The Pew Research Center says that more people Google “church” at Easter than at any other time during the year. Yep, you will have guests.
What message will you be sending to those new folk who come for an Easter visit? You might want to read the post, “The Dangers of a Bait and Switch Easter” by Bob Hyatt. Here’s the quotable quote:

“I’d be pretty disappointed if I got Cirque Du Soleil the first time I went to your church and the next week I got Phil and Ted’s Bargain Circus.”
But that doesn’t apply to you. Undoubtedly, your church is authentic no matter what Sunday it happens to be. Right?
However – without being fake or untrue to who you are – Easter is a great time to highlight the amazing things your church is doing in your community. This is prime time to let guests know that being a part of your faith community means being generous with your time, your talent, and your financial resources.
And most important, this generosity comes from a deep place of joy.
Even if you haven't included it already, it’s not too late to plan a brief moment to highlight the ways you express generosity with your community – and better yet, give new people ways to be engaged right then and there.
Time: Have a place for people to sign-up for a volunteer project. Let people know that you are not just an inwardly focused place of worship. The world matters to you.
Talent: Let new folks know that if and when they are ready, there is a place where their skills will be valued and needed.
Treasure: While you may feel compelled to play down the offering because you fear offending new people, this is a time when you can start teaching a different message about money. It can be a joyful experience where people recognize how their financial resources can really transform lives and communities for the better.
Proclaiming the Good News of a risen Christ goes hand in hand with proclaiming generosity. We have been provided a fantastic gift of new life and, in turn, that requires action on our part. Now let’s all go out and sing with gusto and at the top of our voices, “Up from the grave He arose!” Happy Easter.

PS – Bonus article! Here’s a clever piece that was posted today by the Washington Post: “Crucified Man Had Prior Run-ins with Authorities.” It hits pretty close to real-life events.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Feel free to ask her to do use her “opera voice” as she sings. It’ll probably sound like this. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
If someone has forwarded this to you and you would like to subscribe to "Inspiring Generosity," click here.  Miss an issue?  Click here.         

Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.