By: French Harmon
Easter Sunday is an uplifting time for most congregations — the pews are filled, people are friendly and worship services are exceptional.
But what about the time “After Easter?”
Drawing on my nearly 30 years of experience as a senior pastor, I have compiled a list of ministry suggestions suitable for churches of all sizes, locations and theological perspectives after the Easter service. While it would be ideal to have these plans in place well ahead of time, always remain open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
Here are five key considerations:
1. Follow-up: Each church should develop a strategy for obtaining guest information. Church leaders should promptly and courteously reach out to potential members, inviting them back, offering a small gift and asking for any prayer requests. People often feel isolated and may be more likely to return when met with such a positive gesture.
2. Mission planning: Many people feel inspired by the Easter message and seek to deepen their discipleship through increased involvement. Empower a missions team to present opportunities for church members, as well as interested attendees, to participate in various mission trips. Offer local, state, national and international options (Acts 1:8). A church member I know created a “missions endowment” that provides perpetual funding for mission activities. The Kentucky Baptist Foundation specializes in assisting KBC church members in creating ways to fund projects for missions, scholarships or church improvements.
3. Social events: Organize social activities for the church — such as dinners, ice cream socials or local outings, ensuring that recent guests receive personal invitations. People may be more inclined to attend through a “side door” approach before returning through the “front door.” Church leaders may be surprised to find that many attractions are quite affordable for large groups. Some of my fondest memories come from social events that unexpectedly turned into spiritual opportunities.
4. Summer programming: Although summer is filled with vacations, camps and family travel, it is also a time when many people search for a church home. As individuals often relocate and start new jobs during this season, church leaders should offer activities that allow guests to experience congregational life. I encourage pastors to maintain a regular presence in the pulpit, engage with those seeking a new church home and share spiritual resources that are foundational to the church.
5. Prayer walking: Depending on your church’s location, prayer walking can be a valuable aspect of a growing congregation. Encourage teams to walk through neighborhoods, praying for the people in each home. At one of the churches I pastored, we would prayer walk throughout the city each Wednesday after our service. This practice led to the discovery of personal needs and spiritual opportunities — and several people receiving Christ. While our experience was extremely positive, it is essential to be mindful of local conditions, personal security and community concerns.
As we observe the events unfolding around us, it becomes increasingly clear that the world needs Jesus. We know that people across our commonwealth are ready to embrace Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Regardless of your church’s size, these suggestions can contribute to a more dynamic and thriving congregation. These ideas represent some of the insights I have gained during my pastoral service.
As I transitioned from being a pastor to serving as the president and CEO of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, I realized that assisting churches with investments, legacy planning and stewardship is critical to sustaining and growing thriving KBC churches. Please contact us at the KBF to help you develop ministry plans that will ‘Fund the Great Commission’ and reach a hurting world for Jesus Christ.
French Harmon is president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation.
The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.
This article was reposted from Kentucky Today.