Okay, Easter hasn’t always been a big deal to me.
Honestly – as a kid I didn’t really look forward to it at all. Yes, there was always candy, baskets, and ham. But there was also new haircuts, hair goo, a tie, and even one year – my dad’s oversized dress shoes! Easter always seemed to require me to stop being me. All that trying to smile for awkward pictures in shoes that just didn’t fit – I hated it!
I am very convinced I am not alone. I am certain that there are not just a few of our close friends that feel uncomfortable about Easter. Certainly, they feel the tug of God in the deep recess of the heart – but church? Attending a church again with all the guilt, the sitting still, the pretending to have it all put together… and then enduring another awkward invite…
Let’s do it differently.
This year I want to encourage you to make Easter personal. There is no doubt that what we celebrate on Easter is a game changer. It is so very clear that my circle still needs an invite. But, the way we celebrate and how we invite is sometimes so foreign to those in our circle that we create unnecessary barriers to the Gospel. Let’s not do that anymore. Let’s make Easter real. Real and personal.
1. Think of Easter as just part of a long term invite
Invite three people to Easter services with you. Remember, we are inviting people to see Jesus. But this year, even if they uncomfortably say “no” to Easter with you, follow up the next day to let them know you are in this friendship for the long haul. Share a cup of coffee or help them with a project and don’t even mention a church activity – just show them love. We don’t always get to see the harvest of the seeds we plant. So keep watering with genuine love.
2. Weave Easter into my circle rather than my circle into Easter
I am praying for huge Easter attendance – I hope you are as well. But, what would be even cooler? Easter in our circles. I would love to hear about Easter afternoon dinners in homes with friends we aren’t already spending all of our time with. I am hoping to hear about some neighborhood egg hunts. Maybe read the Good Friday story with your family, sing a song together and then do some Good Friday “service” in our city instead of attending a Good Friday service: Feed the homeless, pick up some trash… the possibilities are endless. If you want me to send you some ideas, just email me. And then take a picture and email that to me too.
3. Make it fun!
Resist the temptation of forcing kids into a new suit or haircut – instead ask your kids what might be a fun way to celebrate Jesus in a way that some friends might also enjoy. (Think sleepover – nerf guns – doughnuts – or white bread) It is through the resurrection that Jesus brought real life. If anybody is having fun on Mar 27, it should be us! Try something new!
Between now and Mar 27 pray with me for boldness and spiritual hunger. But, as you pray, listen. Listen to God. Listen to people. God is working right now in people all around you. People are like burning bushes. Remember Moses’ encounter with a burning bush? He stopped, changed direction, and humbly approached the bush to listen. Have a little less agenda and a little more attention.
God will do some very BIG things in our very little circles!