One of the disadvantages of waiting until March 1 to be fully on board with Kairos is that it puts me behind in preparations for Easter Sunday. As you may know, this is one of the largest attendance days for any church. Some churches use this to an advantage and try to connect with new people, those seeking to return to Jesus, and others who may desire a relationship with God. After preaching for established churches for 20 years, I did not notice how well this day could bless a congregation until we planted Agape Church of Christ. Easter took on a different dimension as we planned, strategized, prepared, and invited as many people to
church as we could during the Spring. Easter also provided a powerful boost to “snapping out of the February Funk” that we so often experienced.
Last year we followed the Spring Surge program with Kairos and saw an increase in our attendance along with two baptisms. While we were not prepared enough to offer Spring Surge again this year, I would like to encourage you to develop your own Easter plan. I will also point you to free or low cost resources for you and your congregation. Three simple steps can help you plan to make Easter a convenient way to reach new people for Jesus while energizing members to break out of their comfort zones and invite others.
Decide that Easter Sunday will be a special focus Sunday. Whether your group will meet on Easter Sunday in one location, or you are moving to small groups due to the Covid-19 Virus regulations, you can decide that Easter Sunday will be a special day of worship. Easter is a time that people think about the resurrection, so remind people to be aware of this.
Develop a plan to connect with people who attend. Try something creative: prepare a lesson that addresses resurrection themes, encourage the group to share how God is putting people in their lives in preparation for Easter. You will find resources for your Social Media, Website, and
Worship program through these website/online companies.
Proclaim and Faithlife
Outreach and Prochurchmedia.com
Do you know of others?
Dedicate extra time to not only recognize your guests, but follow up with them. Give them a gift
for coming. Get them to fill out an information card and encourage them to follow the ministry. I know that we have heard individuals suggest that guests don’t want to be bothered, or that people flee churches that encourage members to be friendly. I am sure these people exist. However, after 13 years as a church planter and 35 years in ministry I can tell countless stories of people who came to church high, hungover, hurting, feeling alone, and needing hope who have testified later that someone in our church greeted them, sat by them, or even talked extensively with them—and that changed their life. Let God’s people encourage your guests—that is their ministry!
Years ago we had a visitor who sat in the back, wore sunglasses, and hurried out the door when we ended service. She returned the next week, and the next, etc. Six months later during our Christian arts day she read a poem she created. In the poem she said she planned to end her life one Sunday, but came to Agape instead. She tried to leave and had to speak to three people who invited her back. She finished her poem with, “I wanted you to leave me alone but you wouldn’t. I wanted to die but you reminded me that people cared. I wanted to not believe in God but you showed me a God who pursued me. That is why I am here today.”
What a testimony!
I know that these seem like 3 small steps, but many times we become so advanced in our ministries that we forget the basics—love God and love our neighbor. I will be praying for you this Easter and will pray that Jesus will not only send people, but inspire his people. We pray that the Resurrection is a celebration not only of Jesus in you, but Jesus in your communities as well.
Discovery Lab Out On the Range
Discovery Lab #24 was our first lab we've held in Texas. But for sure it won't be our last. The clear skies and warm days were a welcome break from winter for our mostly northern team. And the warm Texas welcome made us feel right at home.
We had the privilege of assessing 3 couples as future church planters and campus ministers. This is the work we love. To listen to what God has been doing in these young leaders and to speak truth into their futures brings us great joy.
Bruce Bates, our lab leader, reflected on the week with these words: "It's inspiring what we do. Lifting up leaders, letting God build their platform and then letting them fly. Sometimes we truly have the best job in the world."
The work of discovery is both invigorating and exhausting. Interviews and observations are interspersed with personal stories and worship. Nights are short and days are long. Above, one of our candidate couples leads us in a time of praise.
We were blessed to have some interviewers join us who are not part of the regular work of Kairos. Among them was Tod Vogt, executive director of Mission Alive, a sister organization to Kairos, and a partner in the Gospel. Also on the team were Aaron and Tricia Vann, counselors from WV who are a regular asset to these labs, and Brad Perrigo, whose work with helping hire our new director sealed him as one of our champions. And let's not forget Kevin, a former Discovery Lab participant, who returned to bless us as our lab cook!