What makes Easter special to you and your church?
The obvious answer is that we celebrate Jesus' resurrection from the dead and the joy of knowing that, if we trust Him as Savior, we too will live forever, forgiven of our sins and loved by our God. I Cor. 15:3-4 reminds us that "of first importance" in our faith is that:
Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
Do you think your community, the people you want to reach this Easter season have any idea that is what Easter is all about? Probably not.
To answer that question, to find out what they really think about Easter, do a little creative research.....
Consider "man in the street videos"
For honest research to find out what the people in your community think about Easter, do some informal "man in the street videos."
This doesn't need to be fancy or take lots of time. You can do it or get a volunteer and then:
Take your video camera (or phone) and, wander around the neighborhood or local mall and ask people:
"Why do you celebrate Easter?"
"What is the meaning of Easter?"
Pretty simple questions, but the answers should be interesting.
Use the resulting videos, not only to help you plan communication strategy, but to show to your congregation to help them understand their neighbors.
Don't ignore what you learned and don't allow your Easter traditions to turn people away from church
Hopefully, you have a better sense of the understanding of your target audience to the Christian message and you learned some things you need to explain. After you figure that out, in addition to the basic Christian message, take time to ask yourself:
- What are the celebrations, the Easter traditions that are most meaningful to your church?
- What is the expected activity at Easter that the church looks forward to every year?
- What is unique to your denomination, your style of worship that makes Easter special to you?
If people have trouble understanding the basic meaning of Easter, what is most meaningful to you in your traditions, may be the most confusing to someone else.
This challenge doesn't mean you do away with them. Traditions can be a wonderful way to explain and explore the Christian faith. The challenge is to take time to explain them to a stranger.
Finally, in this incredibly busy, frantic time, please pray that the Lord will enable you to look at your communication materials, your website, your bulletin, handouts, church materials and explanations of activities through the eyes of a stranger—someone who may be totally unfamiliar with the Christian faith, but who has come to church on Easter with a hungry and hurting heart and in every communication channel you use, pray you will help them clearly see Jesus, who,
. . . . .died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and raised on the third day!