WOW! What a tremendous Easter weekend. Here at Hollywood Community Church, we are still tabulating the numbers, but I am confident that our church had its highest attendance in years. Even more importantly, though, God spoke to the hearts of many people, and there were more than 60 new families that visited our church for the first time. Praise the Lord!
So, after such a tremendous weekend, what’s next? I mean we planned, worked and prayed so hard for this weekend’s services what are we supposed to do now? Be assured that we are not the only ones asking that question.
The Monday after Easter is traditionally known by a variety names. It is referred to as Bright Monday, Renewal Monday, Wet Monday (because family members wake each other up by pouring buckets of water on each other), and Dingus Day (large polka festival). Quite frankly, I am not inclined to do any of those things, even though the polka festival does sound intriguing.
Many churches have large attendances on Easter, but few are able to take advantage of their one-day success. We have continually stated that our goal for Easter was to reach new families, not to have a big attendance. So, how can we guarantee that what we experienced this past weekend is not a “one-week wonder?”
1. We must be passionate about the resurrection every week.
Repeatedly, throughout the book of Acts it was the truth of the resurrection that ignited the early Church. For them, it was not a once-a-year event. No, the resurrection of Jesus was the topic of their messages and their witness.
Acts 2:32 – God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this.
Acts 3:15 – You killed the Author of life, but God raised Him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!
Acts 10:39, 40 – And we apostles are witnesses of all He did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross, but God raised Him to life the third day.
Acts 26:22, 23 – I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen – that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God’s light to Jews and Gentiles alike.
As you can see, the message of the early church was the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It so much impacted their lives that they could not keep silent. That should be our testimony as well. What would happen if we daily testified and witnessed as to the power of the resurrection? I believe we would witness the same effects – For it is the power of the resurrection that continually changes our life and will change others as well. Let’s preach Jesus crucified and risen again!
2. We must follow through with those we invited.
I am afraid that too often we treat fishing for men as a “catch and release” program. Once we get them to church or get them to “make a decision” for Christ, we release them as if our job was done. How tragic!
It was John Maxwell who said, “The fruit is in the follow up.” More importantly, Jesus commanded us to make disciples, not just to get people to church. So, today we thank God for many first-time visitors, but we must realize that our work has just begun. We must follow through with each of them.
Be assured that HCC will follow up with each guest. Our staff will write personal notes, and we will call all of our visitors. But, the job of follow up is not just for us. It is for you too. Here are a few things you can do.
- Take your guest out for a cup of coffee and ask them how they experienced the service.
Today, I spoke with a lady who I invited for Easter to see whether she enjoyed the service. With tears in her eyes, she shared how the experience dramatically impacted her. As a matter of fact, she stated that after the service she sat in her car and wept. WOW! The Holy Spirit is at work. If I had not followed up with her, we would have never known how God moved in her heart. She didn’t fill out a visitor card. She didn’t go by our guest services booth. She didn’t get a visitor bag, but God did speak to her.
- If you invited a guest last Sunday, invite them again this Sunday.
Yes, it is important to invite them again. Obviously, don’t be pushy or obnoxiously forceful, but let them know that you would love to have them attend with you next Sunday as well. Who knows, they might come back again.
3. Pray as diligently this week as you did last week
James 5:16 says, “…the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. That reality is not just true for Holy Week. It is true every week and every day of our lives.
What would happen if every week we prayed for our neighbors to come to church with us? How would God move if every week we prayed so passionately that His presence and power would be present? How many people would come to Christ if every week we prayed for souls to be saved?
For the believer, every Sunday is Resurrection Sunday. We know that to be true, we just don’t practice it. So today, Easter Monday, let’s make a commitment to work, invite, evangelize and pray with the same diligence we did last week.