15 Outreach Ideas for Easter
By Eric Seiberling, United Methodist Communications
Easter, the most important day of the Christian calendar, offers an opportunity to tell the most important story ever told: the story of the Resurrection of Christ, the defeat of death, the victory over sin and the promise of new life for people everywhere. It defines our Christian faith and represents the ultimate message of hope.
Easter presents the largest attendance weekend of the year for U.S. churches. Start planning now to develop ways to introduce your community to your church, so they may come and hear the story of the risen Christ.
Focus on invitation, not advertising
Lifeway research shows that 56 percent to 63 percent of unchurched people are willing to receive information from friends, family or neighbors, while only 10 percent are likely to respond to advertising.
Clearly, marketing and advertising is meant to support the much more effective methods of making connections through love and friendship.
1. Invitation. A simple personal invitation to talk and join your community of love may be well received by those who are close to you.
Serve others first
Often, Easter appears more inwardly focused than Christmas or Thanksgiving. Strive to meet the needs of people in your community leading up to Easter weekend.
2. Spring cleanup. Spread the love of Christ by looking for people who may need help with home repairs or cleanup projects.
3. Free car wash. Organize a car wash with no strings attached. Just leave a small Easter card with your church's Easter worship activities in each vehicle.
4. Canned-food donations. Encourage everyone who attends your Palm Sunday or Easter service to bring canned food for a local food bank. Seeing the church serve others can offer a different view of the church and ultimately cause seekers to be more open to hearing the gospel.
Let the children come – ideas for the kids
5. Easter egg hunts or egg roll. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and his Resurrection. The tradition of decorating eggs for Easter dates back to the 13th century and often tells the Resurrection story. Plan a community Easter egg hunt or egg roll at your church or …
5. Host micro events at different locations in your community. Travel may be an obstacle for some people, so go to them. Consider asking a few big apartment complexes if you can use their courtyards or picnic areas to host a hunt. Consider including inflatables, games, food, door prizes and music to grab attention. It will be hard for residents to resist the fun. Make sure to invite participants back for next week’s Easter service.
6. Easter egg decoration contest and art show. Ask the children of the community to submit decorated eggs and other pieces of art for Easter.
7. Palm Sunday celebration. Have the children reenact the Triumphal Entry — complete with a fake (or live for those who are daring) donkey and palm branches.
8. Egg-vitations. The Sunday before Easter, give each child ten plastic eggs with candy and an invitation for their friends and families to attend the Easter service. It is great to involve children as inviters.
9. Easter musical or drama. Never dismiss the power of a children’s musical or drama. Children are remarkably capable of presenting the gospel in a compelling way, and parents, grandparents and friends who might otherwise never set foot in a church will come with cameras for a beloved child on stage.
Tell Christ’s story in new ways
10. Film festival. Sponsor a film festival displaying new works by local artists that express the love of Christ or the Easter story or show commercially produced films about the story of Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection. If you show commercially produced films, make sure to understand the copyright and licensing issues before showing them. Check out the Bible Film Blog for ideas on potential films.
11. Art exhibit. Ask local artists or artists in your church to create art inspired by the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Invite the community to view the creations and interact with the artists to hear their stories and perspectives. Or ask each artist to focus on one station of the cross and allow him or her to interpret it through painting, sculpture, performance art, music or other arts. This can convey the emotion of the Passion story in new and different ways.
12. Drama. Many plays touch upon the Easter story. Some show the entire Passion or Last Supper, while others depict modern life. Research scripts and choose one that is appropriate for your church’s cast size, talents and production levels.
13. Music concert. Select music and Bible readings that touch on the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus. Incorporate a mix of old hymns and newer music to show the many ways we can tell the story of Christ.
15. Passover Seder on Maundy Thursday. Host a Passover Seder meal for your congregation or community. Explain why each element of the meal is important. Make sure to include the elements Christ changed and tell why these were so groundbreaking at the time.
With a little planning, your church can provide welcoming experiences to help convey the message of Easter to your community and spread the importance of the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.