After Easter, Now What?

I pray that this Easter season was a great one for you and your church. As many other pastors and leaders, I know have experienced growth this season, now is not the time to relax. Often in the weeks and days leading up to Easter, our churches do a lot of planning, preparing, and of course, praying for reaching new people. Those who visit have several invitations to churches to sort through and decide which one is best for them and their families. Then finally Easter weekend is here, and many people are moved to join the church. More importantly they are moved to say yes to Jesus Christ. But now what? Here are some thoughts:

1. Celebrate what God has done

One thing we often miss as leaders is the corporate “thank you” for what God has done. We thank God for the harvest, but here I think it is important to thank God for the leaders who served during the long days and even longer hours during the Easter services. Yes, you and I know leaders are supposed to serve; however, the acknowledgment of their service is key. Everyone from the parking lot to the pulpit needs to know that their role and part are the reason that we had this impact. 

I recently had Pastor Brian Bullock from Union Church Charlotte on my podcast, and he spoke about this point clearly. It’s the way Pastor Brian shares the vision of his church and the goal of each ministry. At our church, Kingdom Fellowship AME Church, we have a saying “We Together.” For us this statement is used to allow each part of the ministry to know that no part is more important than another. Everything and everyone must work together, and all parts are equally important. Celebrate your leaders and celebrate the win. 

If one new person came to the church during the weekend that is a win. If one person said yes to Jesus and the church that is a win. If one student visited the youth ministry that is a win

We are thankful for all wins large and small, and each leader needs to know the wins as we report them. If you don’t have a system to track engagement, try Church Metrics. It is free and what I use weekly at Kingdom for a quick report. Don’t forget to celebrate.

2. Engage those who are new

After Easter it is also important to engage those members of the community who are new. Those who watched the service for the first time, those who joined the worship experience for the first time or in a long time. If someone has been to your church or has not watched in months, then treat them like new people and try to engage them to become more connected. 

How? I am glad you asked. You should have something prepared for them, like a letter or video of welcome. It is OK if you didn’t have this planned; you can still do it now. Just draft a letter and/or film a quick video thanking them for visiting, and outlining for them the ways that they can get more connected with your church. You can also work to assign some of your more seasoned leaders to these new people to engage them and bring them closer into the core and not just the crowd or congregation—people who are close to the church and serve and who have a heavy commitment would be called your core, those a little more outside but still committed in some ways would be the congregation, and those all the way out on the edges are thought to be in the crowd. I don’t know who created this system, but I use it often. 

This is the simple point I pray is clear: after Easter it is important for us to engage those who are new so that we can help them move from outside to closer inside. How are you engaging them? 

3. Plan to study, serve and grow together

This final point might be the most important. After Easter—which we all treated like a very big deal, because it is—what is next? What does the person who is new do next with you and your church? How can they grow closer in their relationship with Jesus Christ and his church? In what ways can they serve with the church to impact the community and their brothers and sisters in need? 

The season after Easter is a great time to launch a new small group series or a new Bible study plan, and of course, to launch an outreach project for the church to join and make a major impact. This might seem like a lot, but as a leader you also want to get more leaders involved so each of these points or thoughts can be given to a leader to run from the small group launch to the Bible study plan and the serving opportunities. 

I say it often, but it is worth saying it here as well, the less you do the more you can do. It is time to do less and allow your team to do more so that you can impact more people all for God’s Glory. How are you going to engage now?

What are your plans for the season after Easter? What would you add to this list?

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Russell St. Bernard
Russell St. Bernard

Russell St. Bernard is the director for ministry operations at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the founder of After the Music Stops, a full-service youth ministry company as well as founder of Ministry Pivot, a company dedicated to assisting leaders and churches seize opportunities for growth.