Sometimes Lent feels like a long season, but Easter will be here soon. Is your church ready for Easter Sunday visitors? You still have time to prepare for them.
Probably everybody knows that Easter and Christmas are the peak seasons for Sunday attendance, and Easter Sunday services are usually the best attended of all. The visitors we get on Easter Sunday represent different groups of people. Some of these visitors may be brand new to your church and just need someplace to go for Easter. Other visitors will be relatives of church members, and they may just be in town for the weekend. And maybe the biggest group of visitors will not technically be “visitors” at all. Instead, they will be people who are officially members of the church, but only attend services one or two times a year.
Here are some suggestions for getting ready for all of these visitors in preparation for Easter Sunday:
1. Review all of your printed and digital materials. Are they updated with current information? Could they use fresh graphics, new fonts, new colors? Do the materials present information important to visitors in a compelling, quick, way? How about the bulletins for worship–do they explain things that might be confusing or intimidating to visitors?
2. Have some way for interested visitors to have an immediate “in” with the life of the church very soon after Easter Sunday. It could be a day scheduled to do mission in the community, a new in-home small group opportunity, or some other short-term, low-commitment way for interested visitors to stay involved. Also, make sure you promote these opportunities before, during, and after Easter Sunday.
3. Review and update your plans for how you reach out to visitors in general. Sid Burgess’ post from several months ago has some good ideas about how to do this. Do you have at least one or two people (beyond the pastor) who have taken on the task of following up with every visitor? Now would be a good time to make sure that you do. Follow-up with visitors is a balancing act–you want to acknowledge your gratitude for their visit, but you don’t want to be over-bearing. This is true during the service itself, too. Having visitors stand up to be singled out during the service is over-bearing. Briefly introducing yourself to a visitor before or after the service is a great thing to do, as long as the person is not in an obvious hurry to get out the door. When speaking with those “visitors” who are actually members that rarely attend, there is no need to point out the rarity of their attendance. What matters is that they are here, today, right now. It’s great that they are here!
4. Are you ready for having more children present on Easter Sunday than usual? It’s a good idea to have extra nursery workers on hand and to make sure the nursery is clean, safe, and has solid procedures in place. If I come to visit the church with my young child, and find an understaffed nursery with broken toys and no procedure for checking the children in and and out of childcare, then I’m probably not coming back.