Next Sunday won’t be as crowded as church on Easter Sunday. The pews will seem much roomier, you won’t have to trip over 20 sets of feet to get out of the row or smile quite so much. There won’t be a “loading” time for communion. And the worst part is? Many people in your church, and maybe even you, are relieved.
We don’t expect every Sunday to be Easter Sunday. We don’t expect most of those people dressed yesterday in their pastel finest to come back until Poinsettia and Pine deck the halls. We have written them off, already.
Are we just too realistic for our own good? We know 80% (or whatever) of visitors on Easter Sunday won’t be back next week, or in the weeks thereafter, so, we create the once-a-year-for-a-lifetime sermon experience and wave au revoir to the bi-annual pew-tourists.
We don’t spend much time thinking about them, either. Postcard. Welcome call. But we figure, they could show up, if they wanted to. Do we make it seem like there’s more to church than the Resurrection Day message?
Do we seem like the people with whom they’d want to hang out? Casting our sideways glances at them in OUR row, using the hymnal donated in memory of OUR grandmother, not knowing which way to exit for communion or that the bulletin has a misprint and they don’t have to say that line twice. We judge them from the minute they step onto the property and label them “The Easter Crowd.”
Sure, some are family visiting from out-of-town. We can be nice to them. Some are children home from college, and we look forward to seeing them, of course. We like to stereotype the others, though, don’t we?
They’re just there for the Easter egg hunt, the candy, their half-hearted obligation to the God Who Takes Attendance.
What would it be like if we stopped EXPECTING the gaggle of pink and salmon and purple and green-swathed people to sleep in next Sunday? What if we didn’t go for maximum shock value on Easter to attract the pulp-action-fans of the 21st century? What if we told the story of Jesus as if everyone were meant to be a part of it?
Or, what if we designed every Sunday around the Resurrection? What if we talked TOO much about the victorious King we serve? What if we created an environment that fosters year-round growth, not a one-time glut?
I love my Church, and I loved seeing it so packed this morning. I love that we’re promoting our after-Easter series based on Crazy Love. But I still think, in the back of my mind that next Sunday won’t be the same.
Encourage me. Tell me what you and your church are doing to make every week as much a victory as Easter Sunday.