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If you'll forgive the analogy, I've often thought Easter is a little like Thanksgiving dinner. There is a huge amount of preparation, a big build up, we eat and then it's over. The next day, Christmas decorations are coming out!! Was that really it? It's over? We're done? Really? There's football and leftovers and then you really are done!

Easter was just a few weeks ago. By now you have caught your breath and are planning toward the summer. Many of you are working on your fall ideas. But was that it for Easter? Don't leave Easter too quickly. There's more! My hope is that all of us are leveraging what is arguably the "biggest" day in the church calendar.

I spoke with a pastor who was excited about those who stood to receive Christ on Easter. I was jazzed with him and for him. I asked if he had a chance to get to know any of the new converts or knew any of their names. He said no. The church was a size that he might have met a least a few. I asked about a class or some kind of follow-up for new Christians and he replied they didn't really have anything specific, but those who received Christ would be invited to Sunday School. There was great excitement for Easter, and then they were done.

I think that most churches struggle with the tension between event and process and the above story is a classic illustration. They did a great job with Easter as an event, but failed on the elements that require process.

This isn't the exciting part of ministry but it's the part that brings strength to your church. It brings depth and stability. The following is a checklist of things you can use to evaluate your post Easter ministry processes.

• Gratitude
Each time someone says yes to Jesus, though we all work hard to prepare for the worship services, I realize that the mystery of the Gospel is in play. The Holy Spirit is at work. Ultimately, there isn't anything we do that results in someone's salvation. We simply prepared the way for God to do His work. I stand amazed and utterly grateful. God takes delight in our thanksgiving and praise for His grace and mercy. Your personal prayers of gratitude for His saving grace are vital, but equally important is gathering with your leaders to give thanks as a group.

• Worship Services
You invested much time, effort, energy and money for Easter. Did you take some time to review your worship services? Did they go as planned? Were you happy with all the elements? Was the worship strong? Was the message clear? Did everyone hit the times? Were the ushers organized and helpful? Was the sound and video done with excellence? Was your advertising effective? There are so many questions you can ask, and the primary reason is to continue to get better. This isn't meant to contradict the element of God's hand in the previous point, it is about doing your best to be fully prepared with confidence and excellence for what God wants to do.

• First Time Guests
There are several viable approaches to guest follow-up in the local church. They range from a full court press to nearly full anonymity. Both can work and the size of your church matters. In smaller churches there tends to be a higher expectation for more personal touch in follow-up. The middle ground seems to involve at least some form of digital / social-media format of contact.

If Easter is your larger reach during the year, it seems like putting extra effort to seeing your guests return makes sense. This is back to the tension of event and process. The leaders are often exhausted from Easter and then jump right into preparation for whatever is coming next. The net effect is that little follow-up takes place, at least in comparison to the number of visitors and potential new attendees. It doesn't really make sense. One of the things we do at 12Stone® is create a high attraction teaching series immediately following Easter to encourage guests to return.

• New Converts
Everything on this list is important, but if I had to put one at the top, this would be it. Ultimately, new Christians are at the core of the purpose for the local church! That is a bit over-simplified, but I can't imagine a pastor that would disagree with the overarching idea. Do you have a plan in place? Is it working? How many of those who said yes to Christ are connected in some process of first steps in their faith? This begins to get at what would be considered over-simplified if left to evangelistic efforts only. The beginning of discipleship is essential.

What about baptism? Did you have the privilege of baptizing anyone on Easter? Are you discovering people who are ready for baptism in your new Christian environments?

By now the "list" may feel daunting and you already carry a full load to get ready for next Sunday! I know, we all face the same tension. My hope is to encourage you to make all your outreach efforts truly worthwhile by engaging full force in your "after Easter" processes.

• Staff
Your staff and/or key volunteer leaders press hard for Easter and often put in many long hours. Make sure they get some time to rest and play. We're in a crazy busy season here at 12Stone and there wasn't much of a break between Easter and now. I'm aware that some of our team is running a bit tired, but we are in full support of taking the time needed to rest! The trouble isn't that we can't take time off, it's that we don't. We love what we do! But back to the point, we need to rest and so do you. I just received a call from a staff member who said, "I'm taking a day tomorrow to just chill and play!" Good! I cheered him on and said see you soon!

• Vision-Casting
I love what our senior pastor Kevin Myers said the week following Easter. He said to the staff and congregation that many who were not quite ready to say yes to Jesus on Easter may be ready this week or soon! Great vision-casting! That reminds us all of something we know, but can't hear enough. If you'll allow me a large margin of grace in terms of theology, every Sunday is Easter! Now don't write me about that statement. I know there can only be one resurrection, but I'm talking about the ongoing celebration of God's grace and mercy! The invitation for salvation is available every day!

I hope this simple list is helpful to you. How'd you do? Got all your bases covered? If so, good for you, and keep up the great work. If not, choose the one you most need to shore up and go for it!

This article is used by permission from Dr. Dan Reiland's free monthly e-newsletter
The Pastor's Coach available at

Author Biography

Dan Reiland
Web site: 12 Stone Church
Dan Reiland is Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY.

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