When I was young, Easter was a pretty big deal. My church family always had a sunrise service…either out at the beach with singing around the campfire while the sun came up…or up in the mountains, looking down on the sun coming up over the foothills, while we sang “He Arose” and “He Lives”.
We would always follow that up with a pancake and bacon breakfast at the church building, cooked by the men and cleaned up by the women, with much laughter amid the sights and smells of bacon, coffee, campfire smoke, and brown folding chairs sliding on the tile of the church fellowship hall.
Then we hurried home to change into our new Easter clothes and get back in time for the rest of the big day. Women in hats and big, gaudy corsages…little boys in their new three-piece suits…little girls in frilly dresses and bows…dozens of lilies lining the edges of the stage…the thirteen-member choir ready to sing their well-rehearsed new Easter special…and our preacher ready to roll out his new take on the resurrection story.
Such was life in my little home church.
Then I moved to the big church and Easter became something else. Well…a lot more of the same, along with a new focus. It became the biggest of the big days. It became the day we invested tons of time and money and energy to make the biggest splash in a culture that was becoming less and less church-centric.
It became the day we did our biggest production to try to re-connect with people who used to do church…or at least had some semblance of a church conscience. We began to believe if people could possibly be open to gracing our church doors on this big church day (one of two during the year), we would go all-out to wow them, in hopes they would be so impressed with our big show, they would start coming back again and again.
And the only thing that has changed about Easter Sunday in the past couple of decades, is how elaborate our productions have become.
It was amazing to read all the post-game press this morning on many of the blogs I read…guys telling of the tape-measure home runs and the epic attendance-busting that happened at their churches this past Sunday.
So I figured I’d give my take on Easter at North Point, because I know you’re dying to hear it…and it’s not particularly complicated:
For us, it’s important that we are exactly the same on Easter as we are the Sunday before and the Sunday after. For the new folks that come on Easter, we want them to see us as we are. It falls under the “Honesty in Advertising” value we try to live out.
We sang a little, taught a little, laughed a little, affirmed our friendship and partnership with each other, shared communion, gave some money, and re-affirmed we are followers of Christ seven days a week, and not just one. And it’s what do every Sunday.
This guy I read today asked this question of pastors and church leaders:
“How well have you planned for the week AFTER Easter? (Or is it just another Sunday?)”
My answer? No Sunday at North Point is just another Sunday. But that’s because no Sunday is ever more than any other Sunday.
It’s been a long time since I believed it was our job to “wow” people into coming back the next week.
I hope that never changes.