The Big Sunday is coming up and if you’re like me, you’re anticipating some new faces at your church on Easter Sunday.  Here are my 6 Easter Do’s and Don’ts for your service this Sunday:

  1. Don’t say, “I’m glad to see all you Easter lilies who come out once a year.”  I actually was present for an Easter service where the pastor said that.  This is not the Sunday to make a joke at visitors’ expense.  Of course, no Sunday is the time to make jokes at anyone’s expense.  You’d be surprised how much that happens, though.
  2. Don’t single out visitors.  I assumed that this word had gone out to every church in America, but I actually attended a service last year in a church in California that asked each visitor to stand and introduce themselves.  This was a large church, major denomination, in a major city with about 400-people in attendance in 2006.  Where have they been?
  3. Don’t trick people into doing something for you.  No one likes to be tricked or manipulated.  If you ask guests to fill out a card, tell them exactly what you’ll do with the info — “We’ll add you to our mailing list for future events” for instance.  Be honest, explain your intentions clearly, then stick to your explanation. 
  4. Do present the Gospel.  They came to hear about God, so don’t disappoint them.  Don’t fuss at them, berate them, or manipulate them.  Announce the Good News and let the Holy Spirit do His work.  See Sam Rainer’s post for some stats to encourage you in your presentation Sunday. 
  5. Do keep the worship service to its usual length.  This is not the Sunday to run 30-minutes over.  Cramming too much into an Easter service is tempting, but counter-productive.  This is not the Sunday to make everyone late for lunch at Grandma’s.
  6. Do make the service similar to your church’s typical worship.  You will have first-time guests, so if you have the Boston Philharmonic play the offertory, your guests will assume you do this every Sunday.  Make the experience like your normal worship so that when your guests return, they will not be let down.   Special stuff is great, but don’t get too far away from who you are as a church. 

Now, for all of you who have the Boston Philharmonic scheduled, my apologies, I should have posted this earlier.  Seriously, have a great Sunday and make a lot of new friends for God!