Some people will come to your church, hear the gospel message, then reject it. Here are three ways to use this as an opportunity.
Your Easter visitors may simply come because they want to spend time with family, get free brunch or let their kids enjoy the petting zoo or egg hunt. Listening to the sermon may just be the price of admission. These people may also hear that Jesus rose from the dead for the first time, and like any new message, reject it. Use that as an opportunity! Here’s how:
Gather resources. Consider creating a page on your website that answers common questions about faith and Jesus. Plan to launch a study or seminar that’s focused on doubt in the weeks following Easter, and pull together a list of potentially helpful books.
Include a simple bulletin insert that first assures them that their doubt and questions are OK, then provides information on all of your resources and upcoming studies or events they may find helpful. Something like:
Still have questions? Many people do. You’ve just heard the story of Jesus rising from the dead, but after you leave the church, when brunch is over and you’ve had your fill of chocolate, you might wonder—is it just a story? Or did it really happen? If it did, what does it mean to me? If you’ve got those questions, we’ve got options for you. We hope you’ll check out the websites and events we’ve provided to help you in your research. Take the time you need to consider it. The issues are worth it.
Also include the emails or phone numbers of a few people willing to talk one-on-one with those who have questions.
Verbally reassure. Let them know before the service concludes that although they might want to respond to Jesus—and that’s great—if they don’t believe a word you said, you and the church are open to exploration, discussion and are able to talk and answer questions.
The hardest part of all of this, of course, is that you have to really want to do that and have time and/or people who will. Easter week is exhausting and you’ll probably just want to rest, but the most important part of the celebration can come after if you allow visitors to doubt, question, discuss, search and ultimately meet Jesus—the real reason we celebrate Easter.