Easter is upon us and churches are in full force outreach mode. There are door hangers to hang, mail outs to send, and worship services to plan. We feel the pressure to put on our Sunday best and show the world that we are the authentic, relevant, energetic, casual, and all the things you want us to be kind of church – the kind of church you have always been looking for, though you haven’t actually been looking for it. For many, Easter is one of the busiest and most stressful seasons of church life. It’s the Super Bowl Sunday of the Christian ministry world.
It is good and right for us to see Easter weekend as a unique evangelistic opportunity. Because of what remains of cultural Christianity in America, we will have many unconverted people visiting churches out of a strange sense of religious obligation. What an opportunity it is to share the true Gospel to these visitors! I am afraid, however, that in our zeal for outreach in the Easter season, we can forget what it is we are celebrating. While we may be affirming resurrection power on Sunday, we can so easily deny it with our mentality and our methods. Pastors who feel the pressure for church growth on Easter weekend can find themselves unintentionally preparing for Easter like the tomb is not empty. Here are a couple reminders as we head into this Easter weekend.
Reminder #1 Easter Celebrates What Only God Can Do
On Easter Sunday, we gather together to celebrate the most profound miracle of God in history. We celebrate the conquering of the unconquerable. We praise God for the defeat of the undefeatable. Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, faced death and three days later, from what would normally be a final resting place, he got up. He rose again forever proving that our God, “gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Rom. 4:17).
And here we are, over 2,000 years later, and we are still talking about this Jesus. The miracle-working power of God did not end at the empty tomb. It continues in the spiritual resurrection of every Christian. “Even when we were dead in our trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:5). “Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Every Christian is a living, breathing, walking resurrection miracle. They are a testimony to the kind of miracle work that only God can do.
This is the God we worship. He does what only he can do. On Easter morning, when visitors and unbelievers stream into your church, you are no more able to make them spiritually alive than you were powerful to make Jesus get up from the grave. God does the miracle. We seek faithfulness while he alone accomplishes fruitfulness. Rest in that. Rejoice in that.
Reminder #2 Easter Sunday Will Not Make or Break Your Church
If God’s unmatched power to overcome the grave is what we celebrate, how silly would it be to think that our church rises or falls based upon our ministerial performance for one hour on one Sunday morning per year? God in heaven is not eagerly awaiting perfect performances from your greeting team, song service, and preaching. In fact, I believe what God wants most from church leaders this Easter Sunday is to walk by faith, “fully convinced that God is able to fulfill what he has promised” (Rom 4:21). He has promised that his gospel is the power to save (Rom 1:16) and that we will receive power when we are witnesses of Christ Jesus (Acts 1:8). He has promised that he will build his church (Mt. 16:18).
If the vitality and growth of your church depend upon your ability to convince people to come back to your church this weekend, then I’m not sure you want the kind of success that that may bring. Pray for God to give the growth in your church in such a way that only he can be blamed. “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Cor. 3:7).
- Rest in the resurrection power of God this weekend.
- Pray like God alone can draw sinners to salvation this weekend.
- Preach like the Bible is the Word of God this weekend.
By His Grace & For His Glory,
Pastor Brandon Langley
St. Rose Community Church