by Trevor DeVage
My dad, calling Monday to check up on me and our weekend, offered a word of encouragement. “The Monday after Easter is a beautiful letdown,” he said, and I knew what he meant.
After the emotional high of Good Friday and Easter-morning services . .
After all the weeks and weeks of planning every element to perfectly communicate truth and hope. . .
After the energy spent setting up, tweaking technology, and expending every possible ounce of energy again and again for the several services and every age group in multiple locations . . .
It was good to rest.
I thought about the day after Christmas or the day after our wedding. Such days are often just another normal day, except we’re more tired than usual. But I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t settle for that after Easter.
Actually, Monday was a celebration for me. The tomb was still empty Monday. It will still be empty this Sunday. In fact, the empty tomb of Christ will remain as proof of his power and provision until the day I die. And it seems to me we should see the days after Easter as a beautiful opportunity. The ground has been plowed. Now is the time to nurture growth and hope in the hearts of all those quickened by the message of Jesus.
WHAT REALLY MATTERS?
There’s an old saying, “What you win them with is what you keep them with.” If nothing else in this discussion, that means Jesus must be at the center of a special day like Easter. Jesus must be what people remember most, not our unusual methods or novel approaches.
Last week I felt sure Satan was working overtime to lessen the impact of our weekend worship. It went right up to a few minutes before our first service Sunday morning, when the tech crew discovered some of the lights and sound weren’t working.
I pulled our worship leader aside and said, “It doesn’t matter if something doesn’t work. If my microphone fails, I’ll just shout loud. What matters is the message we’re lifting up this morning, and Satan isn’t going to keep us from sharing it.”
PULL OUT THE STOPS?
Does that mean we should not try something new as we prepare Easter services? No, it means we should be thinking about fresh ways to engage worshippers every Sunday. While some spend untold time and energy preparing for Easter or Christmas, I wonder why we’re not willing to pull out the stops all the other weeks.
JUST ANOTHER SUNDAY?
Doing that 52 times a year may seem almost impossible, though. I think about the elders where Cal Jernigan serves who directed him to preach only 35 times per year. Most TV series, they reminded him, film a maximum of 21 episodes in a season. If, with the army of writers and production people at their disposal, they can come up with something worth watching only 21 times each year, why should a preacher working alone or with a small team believe he can effectively touch and motivate week after week without a break?
Of course we’re going to meet every week. But inviting fresh voices to the pulpit and recruiting a whole team to plan and lead worship helps everyone avoid just “mailing it in.”
I know a leader who regularly used the hashtag #notjustanotherSunday. That’s the spirit I’m talking about. Sitting in churches everywhere are people who have never been in church before and Christians living in complacency or crisis. Every Sunday those gathered in our auditoriums and listening online need what only Jesus offers.
So, instead of letdown, I see amazing opportunity. So many new people worshipped with us on Easter. So many others were back for the first time since the pandemic began. We need to do something meaningful with them this Sunday, too. And here’s what else: while we’re serving them, we need to challenge them to bring others with them in the weeks to come. That is the biggest opportunity of all.