In the church world, Easter is known as the Super Bowl of all Sundays. This is the weekend where anyone who calls themselves Christian and “goes to church” actually goes to church. It is also a time where many non-Christians, who rarely attend, will agree to go to church for one reason or another.
To prove my point, over 6,000 people attended church this past weekend at one of our Fellowship of the Parks campuses! This is an incredibly encouraging statistic as we believe we have the greatest news to share through the greatest story of hope ever written. I am so grateful that a large number of people were exposed to the Gospel…but now what? Things will be seemingly ‘back to normal’ this coming church weekend. Let me share with you three ways we as Christ-followers can keep that Easter momentum going.
1. Understand that not all 6,000 people come back to FOTP this weekend.
Like you, I wish we would have a 100% return rate from Easter to April 3rd, but it simply won’t happen…and that’s OK! When I first began working in ministry, I would get a feeling of defeat every time I spoke with someone at church and they didn’t come back the next week. It was the end of the world if I personally invited someone to church and they no-showed.
After only a few months of this, I realized I was focusing on the wrong things. I needed to focus on the wins and celebrate them much more than I needed to mourn the losses. I learned that we have a great, big God who will do amazing things in the lives of the people we minister to. God uses you and I to invite them, serve them, love them, show them grace and teach them truth, but the real change only comes through the power of the Holy Spirit. This weekend, we are going to celebrate those that did return and continue to love, serve, teach and show grace to them. In other words, we can’t necessarily change the whole world, but we can change someone’s world.
2. Focus on changing someone’s world.
I challenge you this week to think and pray about the person in your life who needs to hear about the hope that comes from the resurrection story. Ask God to make clear to you who that person or family might be that you need to invest some of your energy into. Since you are unable to change the entire world, whose world can you focus on changing?
Think about the person desperate for a glimmer of hope, the family longing for some relief, or the friend who feels like they are dying inside. I know there is someone in your life who needs to hear the Gospel message and meet a God who loves them, who sees beyond their past, and has sent a Savior to rescue them from whatever has them imprisoned. Whose world will God use you to change this year?
3. Realize that you needed to hear the resurrection story as much as anyone else.
If you are taking the time to read this blog, you most likely knew the Easter story before March 27th. You know that the resurrection of Jesus Christ means he defeated death, that He fulfilled God’s promises to us, and that we are saved from the consequence of our sin, which is death, by His sacrifice.
Don’t forget to also remember that it is not just the death of our body that Christ came to save us from. Each of us has something that is “killing us” a little bit each day, whether it is an addiction, a habit, a relationship, a debt, anger, depression, or anxiety. Just like Christ can save us from physical death, He can rescue us from all of those things that cause us pain and suffering.
No matter how mature of a Christian you may be, you’re nowhere near perfect. That means there is room to grow, something to let go of, something to surrender to Jesus, something to turn over to the Perfect Healer. What is it in your life that you need to let Jesus resurrect? What is it, much like paying the debt of your sin, that you are just not capable of doing alone? I hope there comes a day when you look at that relationship, addiction, or hurt and say, “Easter 2016 is the day that I asked Jesus to save me from _________________.”
Easter and the spring season represent new life, fresh starts, and forward movement. So now what? As a church, we look forward to new faces, the first chapter of many new CHANGED stories, and the sprouting of new ministries that will ultimately reach people, equip families, and defend those in need. As believers, we look forward to the new life that Jesus breathes into the dead parts of our lives that have formerly caused pain and suffering. As Christ followers, we pray that God will use us to change the world for someone by allowing us the opportunity to share with them the love of Jesus. Easter means so much more than having a lot of people in our seats.
Good stuff, Chuck. On point #1 – with some of the incredible highs that comes with ministry, there are always inevitable disappointments. One thing I have learned the hard way is that I shouldn’t measure success on the actual results, but instead, measure success on your obedience. If we are obedient to what God calls us to do, that alone is a win, regardless of the final outcome!