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Nine Reasons Easter—and Other Big Days—Can Drive Church Growth

When I look back at the early growth of Saddleback, three days stick out: Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day. We planned for those days and used them as an evangelism tool and as a stimulus to motivate our members toward growth for the rest of the year.

Easter is a great example of this. We had 205 people on our first Easter in 1980, 360 people in 1981, and 570 in 1982. They were our biggest services of the year. We averaged nothing like that for the entire year, but these were turning points for our growth.

If you focus your church on evangelism during the Easter season, I believe Easter can be an important turning point for the growth of your church. Here are nine reasons why.

1. Big days build morale. People enjoy being part of something big and exciting. When you plan for a big Easter, you develop unity and pride among your people. While it might be tough to motivate people consistently over the long haul, you can always focus them on a single day. 

2. Big days impress the community. A big day like Easter attracts the attention of many people who would normally totally ignore your church. It tells the community that something is alive in your congregation. And when the community gets excited, they will want to check out what’s going on.

3. Big days build your prospect list. Your Easter visitors will give you a list of people who are interested in your church. You can add them to your mailing list, giving you names of people who are ready for evangelism. 

4. Big days enlarge the vision of your members. Easter helps your congregants see what a larger church looks like. You give them a glimpse of what the church can be, and then they can operate on that vision for the rest of the year. 

5. Big days focus people’s prayers. A special day like Easter gives your people something specific to pray about. 

6. Big days stretch people’s faith. When you set a goal and go for it, it becomes specific. Many times we’re afraid to set a goal because we’re afraid we won’t reach it. But failure isn’t failing to reach your goal; failing is not setting a goal. Without faith, you can’t please God. Easter goals stretch people’s faith, and that pleases God.  

7. Big days give your members an opportunity to bring unbelieving relatives and friends. Easter is a great time to make a first impression. Easter is a time for loved ones to spend together. It’s a natural time for your members to invite the people they care about to the service. These friends and family may not attend any other time of the year, but they may come at Easter. 

8. Many people will be saved on your big days, and many of those people will come back. You’ll have people come to faith in Jesus and return to your church so you can disciple them. 

9. Big days increase your pool of volunteers. Easter is a great way to mobilize your laity. During Easter, you’ll need more volunteers for everything from children’s ministry to greeters. While not all of them will continue serving afterwards, many will become regulars once the big day is over. 

Pastor, I do have a caution for you as you prepare for Easter. Don’t confuse a big crowd for a church. Many people who visit your church on Easter will be “just looking.” A crowd isn’t a church—but a crowd can be turned into a church. Those people who are “just looking” can be won to Christ, discipled, and brought into the church’s membership.

Easter is a great place to start.

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