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As church leaders, we need to be careful not to let up or be let down after Easter.
These two post-Easter responses are very common.
The work to prepare for Easter is easily enough for any church leader to say, "Hey, let's take a break." And if Easter didn't go exactly as you hoped, it's easy to feel let down in some way and perhaps become disappointed.
Both responses are natural, but I'd like to encourage you to think in a different direction.
You may need a break, but now is not the time. These next two to three weeks can change the trajectory of your church.
We all know that your attendance can spike to a high point on Easter, only to fall right back down to where it was the week before. But what if it didn't have to be that way? What if we all kept pressing in, praying, and asking God for favor after Easter?
Here are three "new" elements for your church to lean into starting today:
1. New Life
Our founding and senior pastor, Kevin Myers, gave a powerful and clear presentation of the gospel for our Easter services. I personally appreciate that even though he communicated with great passion and his invitation was strong, he left plenty of room for the Holy Spirit to do His work.
Kevin communicated that some people aren't ready yet. And that's OK.
Thank God for the new life that took place, and have no regrets for what hasn't happened yet. Let's be grateful for those who said yes to Jesus and continue to pray for those who were not yet ready.
For now, focus on those who said yes. Pour your heart and energy into anyone who gave their life to Christ. Make your plan to engage new Christians a top priority. That new life needs your attention.
2. New Guests
My hunch is that you had a good number of new guests over Easter weekend. That's great!
What is your plan for follow-up?
Let me be very candid. If you believe that most of your guests will not return, they probably won't. The reason that's true is because if you believe that, it will leak into how you lead.
I'm not suggesting a pie-in-the-sky formula that says, "Do this and all your guests will return." But I can say that the combination of your faith, effort, and practical follow up will make a huge and measurable difference.
Your actual plan is rarely the issue. Nearly any plan for follow up will work well if you commit to it. I'm very aware, like you, that many guests may not return. But I work, pray and serve as if they will return. That's a picture of vision and hope. That's how to lead the way.
Then, regardless of the actual number of guests who come back next week, I know I (we) are in the game and doing everything we can. The rest is up to God. And I'm OK with that. That's not surrender, it's trust.
3. New Momentum
You know that momentum is a leader's best friend. Easter is one of the best opportunities that you have all year to realize new momentum.
Regardless of whether you had one guest and one conversion, or dozens in your church, that can represent new momentum.
There is something inside the mystery of the gospel that when your congregation experiences the power of God in a conversion, they can't help but be encouraged. They know the spirit of God is moving. They remember their own story. New Momentum is generated.
Keep things personal.
Capture the stories and tell them.
Plan for baptism.
Believe in miracles.
And pray like crazy.
I hope that these three "news" of Easter encourage you to press forward with gratitude, hope and new energy to keep leading with passion!
Dan Reiland is the 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.
This article originally appeared at danreiland.com.
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