Why Do People Go to Church on Easter?
For many years, one of the most exciting things Julie and I did together in ministry was speak at the Weekend to Remember conferences. These events are held in cities all over the country, in hotels and conference centers, with large crowds of couples, 300 on average and up to 500 or 600, all who have given a weekend to improving their marriage.
Years ago when I was serving with FamilyLife, the ministry that hosts the Weekend to Remember events, we wanted to know the main reasons why people came to these events. We launched a big study to answer the question: of all the efforts put forth to get the word out, which was the best? FamilyLife had a daily radio program and partnerships with radio stations all over the country. They placed ads in magazines and newspapers. They had their own e-newsletter, created facebook ads, and had thousands of partnerships with churches. So which was most important? What they learned was that although all of these efforts played a part in getting the word out, the biggest reason by far, and it was not even close, was personal invitation. All of the other efforts might help people learn about it, but what made the biggest difference was if someone personally invited them.
The Power of Personal Invitation
There is so much power in a personal invitation. Think of times where you’ve heard of an event, thinking you may or may not go, but then someone took the time to personally reach out and invite you. It makes all the difference! And it showed you that they cared. I remember when we were looking for a church in Little Rock and friends invited us to come check out theirs. We knew about the church, but the personal invitation was the nudge we needed to go check it out, and it ended up becoming our home church during our final years there.
Instead of being tempted to look down on the CEO’s this year (those that attend church on “Christmas and Easter Only”), let’s pray that God would open new doors. Pray He would make the most of this natural time in the calendar to invite people. Let’s give thanks to God for those who do come. And let’s not assume our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and extended family will come. In fact, in this day and age we should likely assume many won’t even realize it’s Easter on April 9th unless someone reaches out to them.
I’m praying that God would put one person on your heart that you can invite to church this Easter. You never know how that one act of faith might radically change the trajectory of a person’s life. Be praying for God to put someone specific on your heart. Last year I was praying during my morning devotion time, and I sensed God put someone on my heart. This is a friend I keep in touch with a few times a year, but I had not spoken with him for several months. After praying for him, I picked up the phone and gave him a call. No joke he said, “I was just sitting here thinking about a difficult issue in my life, wondering who I could call for insight, and you had just come to mind as someone I should call today.” I don’t believe there are coincidences when God puts someone on your heart.
Be in prayer about who God would have you reach out to and invite for Easter. This year we will have cinnamon rolls in the concourse before the service, so come a little early to connect (no Life Groups on Easter. Classes for 2nd grade and younger will be available during the service). We’ll also have a photo booth again to capture family photos. Let’s see how God might use this powerful day of celebration to reach PRP, Valley Station, and all of Southwest Louisville!