Easter Sunday is in a matter of days, and every pastor I know is gearing up for a big weekend—both in numbers and in effort. Since this is typically the highest-attended Sunday of the year, pastors want everything to go off without a hitch. The music needs to be engaging, the facilities need to be clean, and the sermon needs to be perfect!
As a pastor, I fully understand the desire for everything to be just right when I know there will be a larger crowd than usual. After all, if we are likely to have a crowd twice the usual size, we should ensure we are prepared in every way possible. We want to make a great first impression on all those who may visit. And our hope is that some of those visitors may be so touched by the service on Easter that they return the following week and become regular attendees. A larger crowd gives the opportunity for the church to grow numerically, reach more people with the gospel, and make more disciples. These are goals for every pastor God has called into the ministry.
But as pastors, there is something else we can learn from Easter Sunday that will help us every other Sunday of the year. Imagine what would happen if we put the same amount of effort and attention into every Sunday of the year, not just Easter. In fact, that is what I recommend for every pastor and every church.
Every Sunday is significant
I recommend this not because of the opportunity for the church to grow but for a different reason altogether. When churches or pastors put more energy into Easter than they do on other weeks, it means two things. One is that the Sunday after Easter will be back to normal, which means less effort. The second is that you had it in you all along to improve your Sunday morning services.
If you are making sure the facilities are ready for Easter, then make sure the facilities are ready every Sunday. If you are making sure the music is engaging for Easter, then see that it is engaging every Sunday. And most importantly, if you are making sure the gospel is clearly presented on Easter Sunday, then you should make sure the gospel is clearly presented every time you preach.
While many pastors would like to see their church grow, the greater goal is to make certain that the gospel is so well presented that whoever God sends to the church will know who Jesus is and why He came. Should the facilities be in good repair? Absolutely. Should the music be excellent? Of course. But if the gospel is unclear, then all that will have happened is some good entertainment in a tidy venue. It is gospel proclamation and clarity that turn a venue into a church. It is gospel proclamation and clarity that will impact someone’s life for eternity.
Gospel presentation matters
Too often we see churches put together an amazing Sunday morning for the Easter crowd, yet the next Sunday is back to normal. Unfortunately for many, a normal Sunday is just not a great Sunday. Too often the facilities remain in disrepair, the music is lacking, and the gospel is almost absent from the sermon. But then Easter comes along, and the pastor puts in extra effort to present the gospel.
So, if you are planning to be clearer with your gospel presentation this Easter, I encourage you to put that same level of effort and clarity into your sermon every Sunday. The most important thing you do as a proclaimer of God’s Word is to be clear with the gospel. If you dedicate time to other areas of leading the church yet struggle in the area of gospel clarity, it is time to rearrange your priorities. Among all of the goals for your Sunday morning services, a clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ is at the very top of the list. As a church, it should be our priority to present the gospel of Jesus Christ with clarity week after week.
The extra pressure you may be feeling to get the sermon right for Easter Sunday is good pressure. Read that again. It is good pressure. It may be that the Holy Spirit of God inside of you is urging you to be clear with the good news of Jesus Christ. You are called for this purpose. You are equipped for this purpose. And God has gifted you for this purpose—not just on Easter Sunday, but every Sunday.