Easter Comes but Once a Year
Did you know 70% of your unchurched friends, neighbors, and family would go to church if someone they knew invited them? Take a few moments and write down ten people that qualify with these criteria: 1. You know them, 2. They don’t attend or go to church.
Out of those ten people, 7 of them would be coming to church with you if you invited them.
In my neighborhood, only when a neighbor asks do I invite them to our church. As a general rule I’ve found this helpful, but at Easter and Christmas things are different, and I approach things with more urgency.
As Ephesians 5:16 says, “Take advantage of every opportunity because these are evil times.” Here are some places to start, some places to grow, and a few risks that are only possible with the Holy Spirit’s help.
Places to start:
As always, start with prayer. Pray for God to reveal which neighbors to be more purposeful to talk to, invite, or build relationships within this season. Then consider your own family. So much more is caught than taught. Children are little missionaries. When the topic of Easter comes up with their friends at school and play, what will they say? How can you be more purposeful to focus your family on the spiritual side of Easter? We have added Resurrection Eggs to our Easter traditions. As well as try to buy one thing each year that aims at growing our community’s faith. (More ideas below)
Places to grow:
ASK QUESTIONS that show you care. Grow in your ability to transition into a spiritual conversation with your neighbors. Asking a simple question like, “Did you celebrate Easter growing up, and how?” may lead to a spiritual conversation at depths you have never before reached and that you can build on in the future. WELCOME others into your family traditions: INVITE them to church, HOST them for Easter dinner, or have them COME ALONG to a local church’s Easter event. Your neighbors may already be going and would happily join your family with very little effort on your part.
Books: What is Easter? By Michelle Medlock Adams, Living Lights: The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story.
Bibles: Baby’s Hug-a-Bible or for older kids, Jesus’ Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
Movies: What’s in the Bible? #10: Jesus is the Good News! Animated Bible Classics: He is Risen!
*Remember when giving out Easter gifts to unchurched children, ask permission to share a story about Jesus and Easter before you give them a book. A cute stuffed animal, pretty wrapping, and good Easter candy may help the gift become a cherished possession. A friend shared that she gave the book, Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story to her adopted grandchildren last Easter. The family is unchurched but was grateful for the thoughtfulness my friend showed. The mom reached out to her a few weeks afterward to thank her for giving her family a book that helped her kids know the real meaning of Easter.*
Risks that are only possible with the Holy Spirit’s help:
Organize an egg hunt with your neighborhood Bible study or Christian neighbors. Invite children and their parents over for a baking class, and make Resurrection Rolls while you tell the story of Jesus marshmallow-style. Search ‘Ideas for a Christ-centered Easter’ and hundreds more come up. Pick one that you know you can only do with the Holy Spirit’s help and do that one.
Most of all, remember Easter comes but once a year, Christmas is 117 days away, and if we love our neighbors, we will take every opportunity to demonstrate that indeed Jesus rose again and is living and loving through us.
Glad we can love our neighbors together this Easter,
Do you think your friends and neighbors are more receptive around Easter? We would love to hear the ways you are growing, the risks you are taking, and the bold prayers you are praying. Feel free to comment below.