Are you planning to squander Easter this year? 3 Reasons Why Inviting Your Friends to Church at Easter Is Even Better than Christmas

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?

I can’t. 

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. empty-tomb

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. 12800365_975115065903879_1988922514545889446_n

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.

 

 

Want to invite your friends to church? Here’s 5 things you should know about them

Believe or not, you’ve got friends who’d come with you to church. You have only to ask.

And the #1 one way to invite others to your church is . . . wait for it . . . to simply ask them to come with you to church. That’s it. Yes, sometimes there’s a special event, such as Christmas Eve or Easter, making invitations easier.  Other times there might be a specially tailored program, such as the Alpha Course. But for most weeks of the year, we gather as a church with startling regularity, and you can invite your friend to come with you.1186739_512177192197671_802218542_n

Here’s how you can do it: “I was wondering if you’d be willing to come to church with me this Sunday?”  It’s that simple. And you’ll be surprised how many will come with you.

Because here’s 5 things you should know about your friends.

  1. You’ve got friends who’ve been waiting for your invitation (and they might not even know it). Recently, a friend of mine invited another friend, out of the blue, when they ran into each other in town. The invitation was exactly what was needed, and this friend is growing in their faith, connected into community. Beautiful.
  2. Your friends value your invitation. It really means something to them. Because they love you and respect you, your willingness to invite them to anything carries weight. Your relationship makes your invitation compelling. We often forget this: just the fact that you want them to come with you is an expression of friendship.
  3. Your friends might need time to respond but that doesn’t mean they won’t ever come. They might give reasons (wash the dog, walk the llama) for not joining you, for a while. Don’t be discouraged. Go light, make it easy. Zero pressure, just a simple invitation. A friend who puts you off might still be considering it, and there will come a weekend when they will suddenly (Holy Spirit work!) text you that they are coming. Life is busy. Things take time. And above all, they need to know that saying “no” to you doesn’t harm your friendship.
  4. Your friends will not be offended by your invitation, even if they don’t want to come and won’t ever come. This is a big one. We often shy away from a simple invitation because we are afraid of “offending” them. Really? You are their friend, so I’m assuming you invite them to your parties, your home-based business ventures–heck, you’ve probably even asked them to help you move. Do you think they’ll be offended by an invitation to something you love, prioritize, find consistently meaningful, and think they would enjoy? Very unlikely. The worst thing that will happen is . . . they’ll say “no” and you’ll get the signal that they aren’t ready. Worst case scenario. Think you can handle that? I know you can.
  5. Your friends want to know why you make church a part of your life, even if they think it’s strange. Okay, so they might not ask it like that, but if you are truly friends, then knowing each other’s loves and hates and passions is just part of the package. We know our friends who constantly run, or have a thing for chocolate, or love old cars, or never miss a hockey game — that’s part of being friends. Wouldn’t it be weird if you never mentioned your love for church, never invited them to come with you, even if for no other reason than so that they could know what you love about it?

What did I miss about your friends?

Who’s waiting for your invitation?