Many churches see their highest attendance on Easter Sunday. The pews are packed with folks who don’t normally come. Many of these infrequent guests are men, dragged to church by their wives and mothers.
How can your church make an impact on these skittish men?
Of course, you need to get the spiritual elements in place first: pray for the service and those who will attend. Spend extra time to prepare good music. Be sure the sermon will resonate with the casual church attendee (this is not the Sunday to pack the message with Greek and Hebrew word studies).
But along with the spiritual, there are a number of practical elements that churches should pay close attention to on Easter. Among these:
Make visitors feel welcome – but not conspicuous. Make sure you have friendly men in the parking lot, helping people park their cars and find their way into the church. Put up extra signage so visitors know where to go. Visitors don’t want to feel forced to say anything, sign anything or give anything. Unless your church is very small, do not recognize visitors by making them stand or say their names. Make sure they know the offering is for regular attendees.
Station greeters at each door – one man and one woman. Make sure these greeters are friendly, but not too friendly. Instruct them to smile but not to offer a handshake unless the visitor extends a hand.
Be sure to have enough children’s and nursery workers on duty. Clean, clean, clean the children’s area until it sparkles.
Plan your service with men in mind. Cut the handholding and hugging. Steer clear of sentimentalism. Keep the focus on God, rather than on the congregation. Decorate the chancel area with rugged things instead of flower arrangements. Keep things moving. Use video wisely. And most important, sing songs people know! Easter is not the Sunday to break out the latest tunes – stick to the hymnal.
About the sermon. Here are six things to keep in mind as you plan your Easter sermon:
- Keep it short
- Keep it simple
- Keep it invitational
- Keep it special
- Keep it personal
- Keep it biblical
Testimonies. If you have a member with a compelling testimony, consider asking him/her to deliver it on Easter. A good testimony:
- Tells a compelling life change story
- Is a story non-Christians can relate to
- Is no longer than 4 minutes long
- Is rehearsed ahead of time, or captured on video, so it doesn’t ramble on.
Finally, gather a group of men to pray with you and for you before and during the service. Preparation is important, but it is the presence of God that changes lives.
David Murrow is the author of the bestselling book, Why Men Hate Going to Church. David’s books have sold more than 175,000 copies in 12 languages. He speaks to groups around the world about Christianity’s persistent gender gap. He lives in Alaska with his wife of 30 years, professional silk artist Gina Murrow. Learn more about David at his Web site, www.churchformen.com, or join the conversation on his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/churchformen. Don’t forget to share this page by clicking on the links below, or scroll down and leave a comment (right below those annoying ads that pay for this blog).