Depending on your perspective, pastors tend to use either highly creative methods or cheesy gimmicks to attract newcomers to church on Easter—the most-attended Sunday of the year. Easter breakfasts, pageants, cantatas and sunrise services are often a thing of the past as churches vie for attention and attendees. Here is a roundup of some of this year’s more unusual ideas:
Following up on last year’s Jonas Brothers appearance, Saddleback Church’s senior pastor Rick Warren will teach on the theme of “rescue.” To reinforce his message, Warren has invited Chilean miner, Jose Henriquez to tell his story of being trapped underground for 69 days.
Gone are the days of the lowly Easter egg hunt. Enter the Easter egg drop. From a helicopter.
Next Level Church, a southern New England church with sites in New Hampshire and Maine, drew an estimated 12,000 people to its service in 2010 when it hired a helicopter to drop 60,000 plastic eggs filled vouchers for prizes, including a plasma television and Nintendo Wiis. This year, the church is limiting attendance to 300 and holding the event in a location that will only be disclosed the day of the drop.
Fellowship Church in Salem, Oregon, is hosting an egg drop featuring 25,000 eggs. The church is also giving away a Nintendo Wii, a flatscreen TV and free lunch to the first 1,000 visitors.
Lindenwald Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ohio, gave away $1,000 at last year’s Easter service and will do the same this Easter, drawing names to award $500 each to a member of the congregation and a guest.
Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi, Texas, generated buzz in 2010 by giving away cars and TVs at the church’s Easter service. This year, the church is hosting a casting call for Made, a self-improvement reality television series that will be aired on CMT.
Following perhaps a bit more spiritual theme, Storehouse Family Worship Center in the Orlando area launched a website, rented a billboard and is inviting people from the community to register for a community-wide, Easter baptismal service.
An interesting question that arises from holiday-oriented attendance boosters would be how many people end up becoming believers or committing to church attendance after attending an Easter service.
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