Every Easter we celebrate the greatest event in history, when life broke through and death was defeated.
Can you think of a more perfect time for friends to join you at church?
Now, I’ve long felt that churches under-utilize the outreach opportunities of their Christmas eve services; they are incredibly prime for reaching people unfamiliar with church and unsure about Jesus. Lights, candles, music, babies, kids in sheep costumes . . . it’s plain awesome. But Easter is even better.
Here are 3 reasons why Easter outranks Christmas when it comes to inviting a friend to church.
1. Easter is the point of it all.
Like Christmas, Easter is high on our cultural radar. Everyone hears about it, knows about it, and no amount of chocolate or fluffy, egg-laying rabbityness can obscure its ultimate reference point: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
At Christmas, you have to connect the baby Jesus in the stable with the God-man on the cross. That’s fine, but Easter is that connection. You don’t have to work yourself toward the main story–the trial, suffering, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the story. That makes Easter the prime event of history, the main celebration for Christians, and the ultimate time for invitation.
2. Easter promises the new beginning we all want.
At Easter, we’re coming off the long, dark winter and are looking eagerly forward to spring. Easter, with its story of Jesus’ resurrection, makes new beginning its central message.
Unlike Christmas, which is forced to look forward to Easter for its hope, Easter is hope delivered. Easter declares that old will not determine new, that past cannot dictate future, that life has come and conquered death, period.
This promise of new beginnings resonates deeply within our own broken lives and the lives of our friends. And an invitation to celebrate the new beginning delivered at Easter can make more new beginnings possible.
3. Easter places our death in light of Jesus’ resurrection.
I often consider our deaths. Does that sound morbid? As a pastor, I preside over funerals of the young and the old. I’m faced, with startling regularity, by the fact that we all die. And I’m also vividly reminded of how many people–many of your friends and mine–fear their impending deaths.
Get this: Easter kills death. Jesus, who took our death, defeated it through his own death and resurrection. This is the answer to both the fear of our death and the fact of our death. Easter makes life matter because now we can truly live. Easter invites us to take our death, be it imminent or a long ways off, and place it in the light of Jesus’ resurrection.
At Christmas, we bravely project forward to what Jesus will do. At Easter, we boldly declare what Jesus has done. And I can’t think of a more relevant message in our culture of fear. Death: Easter just kills it!
So, who will you invite to church this Easter?
At the Erickson Covenant Church, we produced invitations for our folks to use, both in print and through social media. We challenged our peeps to pray for who they will invite to come with them and I’ve already heard great stories of invitation. I’ve promised to share a message designed for visitors: simple, clear, relevant and inviting.
But maybe you are a bit skeptical about inviting your friends to church? Read my thoughts on why your friends might be more ready to come to church than you think they are.
My challenge to you is this: Make the most of Easter’s place in our cultural calendar. Don’t squander the opportunity you’ve been given. Invite your friends, in the middle of a great celebration weekend, to consider the reason we celebrate at all.