Easter Sunday is by far the most popular day of the entire year for churches. As soon as Christmas is over, churches start planning for Easter Sunday. It is the most important day for us as believers. We get the privilege to gather together and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, King, and Savior, Jesus Christ! A lot goes into the annual planning of Easter Sunday! We’re here to help you get prepared with this Easter Sunday Checklist, ensuring you’ve got everything you need to have a successful Easter Sunday service!
Prayer + Fast
In the weeks leading up to Easter, it is a great idea to be rooted and grounded in prayer as a leadership team and a church. There is so much power in prayer as you dedicate time to go before the Lord with your requests and petitions. Create a list of things that you need prayer for as a church and community. Share your list of things to be praying for with your team and congregation. Consider doing a fast, leading up to Easter. While you may not be a church that observes Lent, this doesn’t mean that you can’t participate in a fast, leading up to Easter. While it can be something as simple or basic as fasting a meal a day or fasting entertainment or media, you’ll find that, during this process of prayer and fasting, you will see breakthrough in a big way!
Once you’ve got your plans in place for Easter weekend and all of your Easter services, run through everything with your team and rehearse it. While this may seem silly or unnecessary. You’ll find that going through a rehearsal or two will help shed light on things you might have overlooked or even possibly inspire you and your team with some new ideas before the real thing. It is especially important for the worship team to practice and rehearse, as well. Trust us, spending time for rehearsal will be a huge help.
Announcement And Promotion
It is never too soon to start announcing or promoting your Easter services. By now, someone else in your community has already been spreading the word about their Easter service. And while it’s not a competition between churches in your community, you do want to make sure you are one of the firsts to get their word out there. Brand your service from start to finish with Easter church graphics! You’ll find everything you need from sermon PowerPoints, countdown timers, motion graphics, flyers, bulletins and more!
Have you thought about what your sermon is going to be about on Easter Sunday? There are so many different topics to preach about on Easter Sunday. How about the weeks leading up to it? Are you going to talk about the death of Jesus, his incredible and miraculous resurrection? Here are just a few Easter sermon ideas to help get the creative juices flowing:
- Preach the ultimate sermon on John 3:16
- Preach the Easter story from the Gospels (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 & John 20)
- Preach about Easter from the empty tomb and that our Savior is not dead!
- Preach on the final words Jesus spoke on the Cross
- Preach about Peter’s denial of Jesus and his forgiveness through Christ.
- Preach about how we are crucified with Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:20)
- Preach about how we are now dead to sin and have a supernatural DNA (Romans 8)
- Preach about the second coming of Jesus
There is a very good chance that most people in attendance on Easter Sunday are believers of Jesus Christ, no matter if they have a very close personal relationship with God or they haven’t attended church in a great while. Those who aren’t believers most likely have heard about Jesus or some version of the Gospel message before. What is your plan to reach out to the non-believers this Easter season? How are you going to preach the Gospel Message to them in a new way, while still making your message relevant to believers? Will you have an altar call? If so, how will you do it? Will you have a ministry team ready to lead others through the salvation prayer? Do you have a packet of resources to give out to those who just accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior? While we don’t have the answer for you on this, our hope is that this stirs up ideas and helps you start a conversation among your church staff.
With the influx of new church attendees that come to church on Easter, what kind of feeling does your congregation exhibit? Do visitors or first-timers feel welcomed? Do they feel the unconditional love that dwells within us? Greeters play an important role in the church. They are usually the first impression people get when they come to your service. Here’s the thing with first-impressions, they only happen once. The first impression will set the tone of their hearts before the service even begins.
If your church doesn’t already have name badges for your greeters, consider getting some made. You can even make a generic one that is on a lanyard that anyone can use. One church has all of their greeters or “hosts” wear a nice white and black safety vest to make their greeters and ushers stand out. Have a meeting a few weeks before with your greeters and go over the basics. Also, encourage that they shake hands or give high fives as people walk in through the doors. Anything to get your congregation or guests to smile is a win!
With the big Easter crowd, many of your visitors will be people who haven’t attended for quite some time, this is a great opportunity to have information for those people readily available. What resources do you have at your disposal? Do you have a church bulletin, bulletin board, church website, or an information center of some kind? Evaluate what you have and what the best option would be for your team to provide information to your new visitors. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got information about your church’s classes or midweek services available. Anything to help guests learn more about your church and get plugged in is great!
For a service of this size, you may want to think about increasing the number of ushers you have. With more people, the potential for chaos increases and you will need people ready and able to assist when the time comes. Be sure that your ushers know where they should be, how the flow of people should occur, what information to give to the visitors, be a smiling face, and be able to assist when needed. Have your ushers keep an eye out for people looking for open seats and escort them to their seats. Ushers can also go around before the service starts and ask people to scoot in to provide more aisle seats for those showing up late.
Side note: If your church doesn’t allow food or coffee in the sanctuary, don’t make a big deal about this for first-time guests. Kindly inform them that the church doesn’t usually allow food or drink, but that it’s fine this time. Most visitors won’t be happy about an usher “forcing” them to throw away their $5 coffee they just got.
Bathrooms can be overlooked if you do not have someone or a group of people in charge of maintenance. Larger churches see this less because they probably have a team of people who keep the bathrooms clean and stocked. For the smaller churches that do not have a team dedicated to maintaining the bathrooms, this is something that you need to pay close attention to. New people that come on Easter may not know where the bathrooms are, make this clear so they can easily find the bathrooms. You could use this as an opportunity for members to serve. The day before the service, you could designate a group of people to clean the bathrooms and stock them. Then on the day of, they could be the ones who periodically check in and restock or clean if needed. Your ushers could be a good group to start the maintenance schedule with. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, but clear communication will ensure that those things are getting done and not overlooked.
Wherever your congregation meets, you want to make a good first impression on your church visitors as well as your congregation. Have some volunteers sign up to be “campus security” and patrol the campus throughout your services. While they patrol, have them be on the lookout for trash, individuals who look lost and any suspicious activity. You don’t want to be afraid of the worst case scenarios, but having people patrol your campus and having a presence of security can help prevent a tragedy such as a church shooting. This will also help ensure that your church services are safe as well as clean and presentable. This may not be the most important thing on your priority list, but it is something that makes a great impression.
All hands on deck! Church staff play a huge role on Easter Sunday. There will be new faces and new opportunities to show Christ’s love, so make the most of those opportunities. Maybe some of your church staff don’t have a specified role for your Easter services, that’s ok. We are still called to be like Christ to everyone, including the new visitors. Have your staff walk around and introduce themselves to someone new. When a visitor sees members of the church staff walking around greeting others, it will make your church staff seem more approachable, especially your pastoral team. While this is a huge goal to have, you’d be surprised how many visitors have had bad experiences with previous churches and leadership teams. A habit to discourage your staff from doing is hanging out in groups with each other or only people they know. We all have people or a group of people that we feel most comfortable with, and this can be very common for the church staff to all hang out in a group during church. That isn’t a bad thing! But use this as an opportunity to reach out to newcomers or let them know they can approach and ask questions or engage with leaders and staff members.
Volunteers are great resources because they want to be there. They want to serve in whatever capacity they can in order to help the church succeed in having an amazing service, event, etc. These volunteers could easily become one of the greeters that we mentioned earlier or an usher. Maybe you need extra help in your kids class(es); if they are cleared to work with the children, go for it! Have them check kids in or help parents check their children in before service. Volunteers can also serve as an extra set of hands for the teachers and even just help manage larger classes by being another adult presence. You could even have them assist in keeping the facilities clean and stocked. Volunteers have a heart for serving so do a service to them by letting them serve.
New Visitor Packet + Follow Up
Make your visitors feel welcome by putting together a welcome packet for them. Let them know all about your church, point them to your website, connect some names to faces in your congregation, let them know what your mission and vision statement is, link them to your podcast, other service times, events, classes, studies, groups, whatever you have to offer, this is a great way to let them know about it. Be careful not to pack too much information in there so that it doesn’t overwhelm them. Maybe have a few key events that would peak their interest. Provide the contact information for your church and include a card or pamphlet that new visitors can fill out with their information. Direct them to your church website for more information and encourage them to follow you on Facebook. Your church website and Facebook page are both ways to get visitors plugged in and learning more about your church!
As we all know, the attendance at your Easter service is a little more than your regular Sunday services. Lots of people who attend Church once or twice a year choose the big events like Easter and Christmas. With that being said, are you currently seating close to the capacity of your building? What are you going to do if there are more people than you can fit in your building? Although this is a great situation to have, there are regulations that limit the number of people in a building at one time to keep everyone safe in case of an emergency. Instead of turning away the overflow of people, have you thought about an overflow location for people? If you stream your service, you can easily have a satellite location if you don’t already have one and stream the service there. If you don’t, maybe rent a bigger space for that weekend and fill that space up. But something to definitely consider is the magnitude at which God blesses, are you prepared?
Add An Extra Service
In addition to having an overflow plan, maybe the best solution for you would be to have an extra service that same day. You may be in a place where you are not set up to stream from a satellite location or have another place for the overflow of visitors. This could be the best solution for you. The key would be to advertise and make it clear that there will be an extra service and provide all of the details so that people know about it. If no one knows, then nobody will attend your extra service. They will go off the knowledge they already have and plan accordingly. Spread the news far and wide if you decide to have an extra service. Start now.
Serve The Community
Leading up to Easter, find ways to serve the community and bless others. Help out at a food bank or a mission and then invite those people to your church. They say actions speak louder than words and seeing people full of humility wanting to serve others creates a wonderful invitation for others to join you for Easter Sunday. Be sure to check out these other ideas on how to invite your community to Easter.
Ask Yourself These Questions:
Is your church easy to see from the street?
Put yourself in the shoes of one of your visitors. You know where your church building is, you’ve been there before and have probably been going there for some time. Imagine it’s your first time to one of your services: you are excited and nervous. If you have children, you are probably running a little behind schedule. Now you’re on the road driving to a place that you’ve never been to before, can you find it? Some buildings are a little more prominent than others, but think about the visibility of your building from the street. Maybe you are in a neighborhood and it might not look like there could be a church meeting here. Maybe one of the roads that Google Maps will take you on is not a safe street to go down. These are just a few things to consider when you have new people coming to your service.
Is it easy to find the restrooms, kid’s area, sanctuary?
Similarly, once your visitors get to the building, you want to make it clear where the kid’s area is, where the worship hall or sanctuary meets, and most important, where the bathrooms are! Okay, that might not be the most important for some, but the idea is to allow your visitors to feel like they can be comfortable in a new environment.
Website Up To Date And Attractive
Get ready for the Easter season by making sure your website is up to date with correct information and up to date staff photos, service times, parking information and more. Consider creating an entire section or your website to your Easter services with everything they would need to know, including social media graphics that they could share with fellow members and invite others to church. Check out these 9 tips to get your website ready for your Easter service!
Remind Your Members To Be Welcoming To Others.
Ok, we get that this may be a very silly thing to bring up to your congregation, but it is a great idea to remind your congregation to be friendly and welcoming to the new visitors on Easter. Encourage your congregation to show up a little earlier than normal and find their seats, but save the best seats for the new visitors. If they see a family sitting by themselves, invite them to sit with them. You can even provide your congregation with some great conversation starters, such as:
“What do you do for work?”
“Have you attended our church before?”
“What is your favorite movie/book?”
“Do you live around here?”
This will be hard for the introverts at your church, but your visitors will love this!
Teach The Escort Vs Pointing Rule
One of the most popular places, and happiest places on the earth, Disneyland has a rule for all of their employees. When a guest asks them where something is, the “Cast Member” is suppose to use at least two fingers or their whole hand, rather than just a singular finger. They do this because in various cultures, it can be considered rude to point with one finger.
Take this a step further with your church staff, ushers, greeters and congregation members. If a guest at your church asks where something is, don’t just point to it, escort them. A simple, “let me show you where it is” or “let me take you there” is more personal and friendly than just pointing. This will help eliminate any confusion for your guests and allows you to get to know them a little better as you are escorting them to their desired location at your church.
Parking & Guest Parking
Being a servant. This may not sound like it belongs in this section but consider this. If you are physically able to walk longer distances from the parking lot to church you are allowing others to park closer which means you are denying yourself for the good of others. Make sense? It sounds simple but maybe consider parking further away from the entrance and leaving the closer spots for people who may need to park closer to the door. Visitors will also feel more welcomed if they don’t end up having to walk ½ a mile to get to church. It’s all about the heart, there are people that legitimately need to park close to the door, by all means go for it. But if you are physically able to walk a little further, why not? That is being a servant, putting other people’s need above your personal comfort. Ask your church staff to do the same, consider blocking off the closest parking spots for first time guests. You can even go over the top and offer valet parking for first time guests. Think of how shocked and surprised they would be by this kind gesture.
Retreat As A Team
Recharge. Refresh. There’s a lot of prep work that goes into the Easter service. Ultimately, this is a time to celebrate Christ and we should be able to do it with everything we have. Consider doing a one day retreat with your team and spend time in prayer and worship as a team and rest before Easter Sunday.
Post Easter Plan
Ok, we get it, your schedule is packed with planning for all your Easter services. But what about your after Easter plan? Churches tend to go BIG for Easter and rightfully so, but what about the weeks following Easter? Do you let your worship and church branding go back to status quo? Do you drop the importance of greeters, ushers and making guests feel welcome? Will visitors who attend on Easter Sunday feel like they are at an entire different church the following week? These are some great questions to be asking yourself and for your team to brainstorm as you will want to keep the momentum from your Easter services going for weeks to come. You can start with keeping worship great between big Sunday!