26 Lessons from Easter 2014 to Apply to Easter 2015

[Special thanks to The Meeting House for sharing this video element from their Easter services.]

Easter is the biggest of big days in local church ministry. All of human history swings on the hinge of Easter. For many churches this day is the pinnacle of a long process of inviting and work. It’s an exciting time to in ministry in the local church.

I emailed some friends yesterday and ask them the following two questions because I wanted to hear how things were going at their churches. I was blown away by what I heard happening in churches all over the world! Read through what happened this Easter and how church leaders are already thinking ahead to what they would do different next year!

Where did you see God at work in your church?

  •  We saw God work in the individual.  We had over 5,200 people gather at our Easter at the Civic Center service, and the texts and messages we received afterwards all talked about that one person that we pushed our City Church-ers to invest and invite in.  We gave them to tools to make asks (online content and printed capital), they prayed like crazy, and we saw God move as many responded to the Gospel. – Matthew Robinson // City Church
  • We met our goal of 800! We saw 22 people say yes to Christ and 16 baptisms! Big steps in many lives!  // Andy Eiss // Fellowship Church
  • I saw God go to work in our people to be strategically missional and become intentional inviters and intentionally involved in their neighborhoods and areas of influence.  We prayed for a harvest, not just a crowd, but people far from God to be drawn into our building and a harvest of people coming to Jesus.  We saw 90 people pray to receive Christ this Easter. – Tom Allen // Crossspoint Church
  • Bringing along a single mother of 4 who is muslim, fled her abusive arranged marriage husband late last year and is a refugee from a fairly-closed African nation. Amazing story, got to pray with her, an older lady in our church is connecting with her during the week. – Bruce Gamble // Lamplight Church
  • We produced invitation cards again, and again, these were a great tool for our people to invite friends who don’t usually attend – huge privilege to see people responding to the invitation : a timely reminder that our responsibility is to allow God to lead and then to “make the big ask in faith.”  – Donald Montgomery // Salvation Army UK
  • God is working the hearts of our church family to understand the impact of a simple invite to church …. we did a big push to invite as many people as possible in the 2 weeks prior to Easter weekend (“Be a Bringer”) … we provided invite tools … yesterday many of our church family expressed surprise at the lack of resistance to their invitations AND were also surprised when the people they invited actually showed up AND loved church! – Ferrell Hardison // The Bridge Church
  •  easter_baptismExcitement!  We had 5 services; 2 Saturday evening and 3 Sunday morning.  We baptized at least 20 in each service.  As a result of adding the baptisms our total weekend attendance doubled from +/- 1200 to +/- 2300. – Ben Rainey // Lighthouse Church [Check out their baptism photos!]
  • I saw God at work in developing the unity of our church and through our  leadership team development. We were able to see teams at our church serve that we had not used previously. An example would be the first performance of our drama team happened this weekend unexpectedly but was the highlight of the weekend. – Dr. Michael E. Carter  // The Praise City
  • We saw God work when a young woman spontaneously decided to get baptized.  We also saw four people put their faith in Jesus. – Dave Roberts // Lakeshore Vineyard
  • We saw God work among extended family that people had said were a “lost cause”.  Our theme was based on the redemptive work of Easter and we saw God redeeming people and their situations that before appeared to be “dead”. – Jason Luscombe // Southside Worship Centre
  • We saw God at work during our 2 week Love Shines Week community projects. We had several projects spread out over 2 weeks leading up to Easter to just love & serve our city. – Bobby Williams // The Ridge Church
  • Our biggest win this Easter was a great multigenerational appearance in our baptisms. We started with many college students and it has evolved into family oriented church with several Seniors as well. We had 8 baptisms, 2 of which were spontaneous, and even some dads baptizing their sons they have led to Jesus! Record attendance helped too. – Scott Swanstrom // Epoch Church
  • We put on a homegrown, non-traditional Easter play the last 4 years that wrestle with current community issues and brings hope into the “tension.”  Some years our plays are about wife abuse, drug addictions, gambling, non-praying churches, and this year it was about theft, bullying, and forgiveness.  It has now generated enough momentum and favor with God and the community that our church was full both nights with rave reviews and lots of tears of forgiveness.  From the overflow of people feeling “safe” to invite their friends and family to this humble but powerful presentation it makes Easter Sunday richer as the “Spirit” is still freshly working on hearts.  Several people I invited came to church and a couple of people told me they asked Jesus into their heart this Sunday.  Heaven smiles. – Philip Styles // Minto Baptist Church
  • We had 520 at 2 worship experiences with 40 total surrendering to Christ. Also we are launching our first campus this Fall! – Kevin Bordeaux // Thrive Church [Hear more about Thrive church … it was just 16 people a few months ago!]
  • We really saw God as families invited other families in record numbers.  We have been more intentional about asking folks to invite and have looked at service more so from the perspective of a visitor, even an unchurched one.  The feedback so far has been that they enjoyed the service and were at the edge of their seats! – Heston Williams // Flatlands Church of God

What would you change for Easter 2015?

  • We stationed our Care Room area in a hard to get to place.  We had plenty of live people serving as directional signage to the area and walking with those that responded to our Care Room to talk to a counselor, but we didn’t take into account traffic areas, the location, and the accessibility for such a large number of people. – Matthew Robinson // City Church
  • Next year I would like to integrate a community serving opportunity on the Saturday before Easter. We found ourselves feeding our community this weekend because all of the kitchens were closed so we stepped up for our neighborhood in a big way. If we had made this a part of the weekend I think we could have had a bigger impact and introduced more people to Christ. – Dr. Michael E. Carter  // The Praise City
  • We would start earlier in gathering together our team of volunteers for these services.  As Easter was in the middle of our school holidays many of our regular church people were away this weekend making it difficult to have full teams for each element of our services, and we had to coordinate a few of them ‘on the run’.  Future planning and gathering more volunteers earlier next time will make this a lot easier! – Nathan Seinemeier  // Cornerstone Church
  • egghuntWe did 24 Neighborhood Egg Hunts to build relationships.  Next year we’ll do 50.  And, we may do 4 services instead of 3. – Tom Allen // Crossspoint Church
  • The one thing I would do different next Easter is: have more Easter services (even though we had 26 services this year). If we had added some additional services at some different times, I believe we would have reached another 1000+ individuals. who were unable to attend during the times we had services scheduled. – Dennis Watson // Celebration Church
  • Consider renting a larger venue. – Ben Rainey // Lighthouse Church
  • One thing we’ll have to do different is to rethinking having an egg hunt after service, with a 2nd service starting in 30 minutes.  We hoped and asked folks to move their cars to help with the flow of people for the 2nd service, they didn’t.  It was a parking mess, moving 500 people out and 600 people in. – Steve Robinson // Highlands Fellowship
  • One practical thing we would do differently is move our guest table to a better location that makes it easier for them to get to as people were on their way out. Ours was in a convenient spot for our church but not for our guests. Good lesson learned there. – Jason Luscombe // Southside Worship Centre
  • We would certainly spend a bit more time with our greeters/ushers.  As much as we anticipated a larger than expected crowd, if we spend more time training we would have been able to better capitalize on getting crucial contact information from them, that allows us to follow-up with them. – Heston Williams // Flatlands Church of God
  • We added one service for Easter weekend … should have added 2 extra services.  – Ferrell Hardison // The Bridge Church

I’d love you to answer the two questions … I love hearing from church leaders. Leave a comment or two.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.