Easter. The big dance of the Christian world. Sunday bests. Church for everyone. Special music. Crowded rooms. The Jesus v. death verdict is in – Jesus, for the win eternal. Boom. Parking lots maxed. Children’s rooms maxed. Worship Center maxed. Easter!
Easter +1 Week. Now what? Space for parking. Some space in the kids’ area. Purses resume their exalted seating level positions in the worship center. How long until Christmas?
As a pastor, it is easy to get excited about the highs of Easter. It is amazing to see a full house of people you love and first time guests singing praise to God and welcoming instruction from Scripture. At Fellowship Church, our combined locations had more people than we’ve ever had at any event – one person shy of 1300. We saw salvations at both our locations – now that’s a Happy Easter!!! But I wonder what we might be able to learn from our Easter experience to help bridge the span of life until our next happy celebration, the birth of Christ in December?
- Be Encouraged By Large Crowds
Crowds can be a challenge. There were several times in Scripture when Jesus sought to move away from large crowds in favor of more intimate settings with his closest companions. But I’ve got some bad news for anyone who is bothered by a packed house of worshippers on Easter Sunday – you’re going to absolutely hate heaven! When large quantities of brothers and sisters in Christ gather together and encourage each other in unified worship of our great God, then we are tasting in small portion the eternal sustenance of God’s presence. Those people to your left and right on Easter Sunday are those with whom you will likely spend eternity. Let’s get some practice in. Let’s scrimmage. This Sunday, next Sunday and the Sunday after that, let’s pack as many of our Christian brothers and sisters as possible into a space for unified, encouraging worship. Even more, let’s invite our family, friends, co-workers and strangers to these gatherings that we might love them supremely through presentation of the gospel and sensationally demonstrate the joy of worshiping God and the love we have for each other.
- Put in the Extra Effort
When you see a full church, just assume there are some tired people. I don’t know the ratio and I’m going to resist the urge to make one up, but a relatively small percentage of total church attenders carry out a relatively large portion of the total work to be done on a Sunday of worship gathering. These workers are, hopefully, serving from a love for God, care for the people of the church, and passion for their area of service. But fatigue can set in when services are added and workload is expanded. I’m going to offer some non-traditional, likely unpopular, advice on this point. Expand with the work. No pastor wants the few handling the work for the many. Every pastor wants more people serving because pastors want each to use the gifting that God has given him. That said, it’s not a bad thing to get tired in your work for God’s kingdom, just don’t grow weary. Tired is healthy. Tired means you did an honest day’s work. Tired means you left it all on the field, so to speak. Christian workers, let’s get tired together!
- Be Willing to Be Inconvenienced
A multitude of people usually leads to minimal convenience. Parking far away. Not having time for coffee due to lines. SITTING DIRECTLY NEXT TO SOMEONE!!! I’m obviously making light of this, but these issues do affect some – to the point of not coming back to church. So, let’s learn from Easter. Will you make a practice of parking as far away as possible even when the crowd is light? Will you make a practice of arriving early to clear through congested areas before they become congested? Will you make a practice of sitting two rows closer to the front and leaving fewer spaces between yourself and the person next to you? “This blog is ridiculous,” you might say. “I read this to grow spiritually and all I’m getting are instructions for where to sit.” Well, a demonstration of spiritual growth, according to Scripture, is growth in demonstrated hospitality. It is going the second mile. It is washing feet. It is a servant attitude to show love for others. If we are to learn from Easter, let’s practice intentional, sacrificial inconvenience.
- Celebrate Life In Christ Every Week
He is risen! He is risen indeed! Easter is the culmination of a season of reflection on Jesus’ brutal death for the sins of mankind. Friday’s theme was sacrifice and death, but Sunday’s theme is VICTORY. Out come the white clothes and bright colors. Even a rainy Easter Sunday seems vivid and full of life in every song and passage of Scripture. “Happy Easter,” we say to one another, as if to say, “Jesus did it!”
Oh, that we would carry that vision into every Sunday. That we would not grow weary, that we would not give undue recognition to the momentary defeats of the week, that we would not foster disunity, that we would not operate from selfishness, but that we would be astonished, weekly, by the extraordinary outcome of Easter – Jesus did it! Jesus is alive and my life is found in Him! I don’t need to be weary because He is my Sabbath rest. I don’t need to feel defeated, because He has claimed victory on my behalf. There is no place for my selfishness or pride because I am a portion of the body of Christ, saved to be a stone in the temple dedicated to God’s glory. Let’s show up every Sunday vibrant, full of color and in awe of Jesus’ risen life!
The excitement of Easter can set the bar for what a local church can look like. Our excitement should not be based in pride of numbers or competitiveness with other churches. Still, we can learn from Easter in these ways, and I hope we all do!