After all the hours that go into planning for a fantastic Easter weekend experience, it’s no wonder most church offices are a ghost town the week following Easter Sunday. Churches can be great at putting together a remarkable worship experience for Easter, but sometimes we drop the ball when it comes to follow up the next week.
Rest is important. Taking a Sabbath rest following Easter is wise and necessary in a lot of circumstances. But that means we need to think ahead about how follow-up is going to work for the new people that come to your church on Easter Sunday. In the week following Easter, we have just as much an opportunity to make an impression on guests. It’s our chance to show how the church helps provide meaningful answers to the weird world we live in every day of the year—not just on one Sunday in April.
While the topic of holiday follow up isn’t new—in fact, I think we’ve done a post on it every major ministry season throughout the year—it’s something that still needs some work in a lot of churches. Here are a few things to think about as you look at follow up. Some of it may be helpful for this year, and other parts may be something to think about as you plan for other big weekends in the future.
Don’t go more than a couple of days without a follow up
It’d be awkward to send an email, write a card, or make the first point of contact a week and a half after Easter. Just because you take the week after Easter off, doesn’t mean everyone else is sitting there waiting for you. They’ve moved on. Make sure you have a plan in place for a time-sensitive, effective follow-up to happen, even if you’re not in the office. You can pre-write cards to be mailed, create an email for someone to send on your behalf, or delegate follow-up phone calls or emails to volunteers. There are lots of opportunities. Don’t waste this chance to build a relationship simply because you need a break. Get your rest. But also seize the momentum of Easter.
Intentionally plan worship experiences beyond Easter as opportunities for meaningful follow up
So many churches ramp things up for Easter only to have a huge letdown the following week. There’s new music, unique videos, a strong sermon, and more smiling volunteers. In essence, it’s the church’s “A” game on Easter Sunday, the Super Bowl of the church season. That experience is what was appealing to a first-time visitor and probably the reason they’ll choose to come back. So it’s important not to go into relaxation mode in the weeks following Easter.
Encourage members to invite their friends back
If you’re intentionally thinking about Easter follow-up, then you can also engage members about how they can be a part of that. Let them know what the church is doing the following weeks—whether it’s a particular sermon series or welcome classes—and equip members to share that information with their friends. If a member invited someone to an Easter service, it’s natural for them to follow up. Equip them with the tools to do that.
Right-size your big weekend experience
If you can’t keep your Easter momentum going in the following weeks, maybe it’s time to rethink how you’re doing holiday weekends in the future. If there’s no way you can avoid a letdown, then it’s time to downsize your Easter service. Yes, there are weekends where you go big. And you should. But don’t go so big that the other weekends in the year can never come close to matching. Again, visitors are setting their expectations on their first impression, which could be your Easter service. Consistency is always the best.
Provide a chance to catch-up with new people in person
Provide an opportunity to meet new people in person. This opportunity can be as simple as saying something from the stage like, “We know some of you visited for the first time last weekend. We’re glad you’re back. We want to get to know you a little better and show you what we’re all about.” Maybe you host a lunch or have a welcome class as a way to meet these folks. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re acknowledging the new people who came back. If you’ve gathered any other information from them—like an email address—send them a follow-up that way, too. Always provide an opportunity for them to meet someone face-to-face.
Make follow-up a routine
Everything we’ve talked about in this post is about effective follow-up. Following up with guests after a big Sunday like Christmas or Easter is incredibly important—we bring it up at these times of the year because, typically, they’re the easiest Sundays to get someone in the church. And because it’s easy to get guests on Easter Sunday, we should have a well-defined process for how to thank our guests for coming, introducing ourselves, and welcoming them back. Assimilation is necessary every week of the year, though. Use Easter to set your routine. Then use your method every week.
This is an updated article, originally written by Church Juice’s founding producer, Jerod Clark, in 2012.