How can I make Easter better . . . for someone else? Let’s start by putting the proverbial “shoe on the other foot.” Pretend you are a guest. You were once. Remember the feel? Awwkwaard. It can be. It’s normal for people to feel a little nervous coming into unfamiliar turf and in the presence of perfect strangers. Well, it might take a little off the edge for them to know that while we may be strangers, we aren’t perfect. Heck, not even close if the truth be told.
Easter brings people out of the shadows. There’s something that nudges a lot of folks towards some religious “observance” whether church attendance is a normal part of their lives or not. They may feel uneasy about it, but in the end they feel good about themselves for the effort.
Can you imagine how the enemy wants to work them over even before they leave their home? Their kids are extra pokey eating breakfast, and the youngest spilled his. Someone can’t find socks that match. Who let the dog out? Are we doing the right thing because this isn’t normal for us? Will parking be easy? Suppose the music stinks? Is the preacher going to make me anxious or feel guilty? Is there a chance something could be done to embarrass me? Am I dressed right? Will they ask for money?
Many guests will have shaped their attitudes before they reach our door. How do we overcome the negative and help make their experience positive? All those thoughts and concerns are real. Fool me once . . . well, that’s already happened. Still gotta bad taste. There’s very little positive leaning thoughts like “will I enjoy the service, meet potential friends, will the kids be safe and comfortable?” There’s a lot to overcome.
Here’s how we help make Easter better, maybe even Great! We start today by praying. Praying for a houseful of guests who will come and hear about the hope God offers them through a life surrendered to a resurrected and living Christ. Pray all the way to Easter. And pray for our Guest Services Team and Ushers that they will be expectant and excited for their opportunity to serve and welcome our guests, making them feel wanted and safe with us. Oh yeah, pray for that Easter message and messenger too.
Making Easter better: All of us can play a part in the welcome process and we really should be about this every week. Just a simple “Good morning” and “I’m glad you are here with us today” will lighten the mood without drawing attention to people who may be guests or invading their personal space. We are growing in our attendance each week.Have you noticed? That means you may actually be touching elbows where you sit. Don’t panic, this is a good thing! God is trusting us with the spiritual welfare of newcomers because we have shown ourselves to be faithful to the ones He already trusted us to care for.
Making Easter better: Here’s a help. To make room for the increasing numbers next week and weeks after, would you consider sliding in from the aisle seats to make it easier for others to get seated without squashing toes or having to ask people to move over? Guests feel funny asking this. We can offer a great courtesy. New Life has always been a church where we can confidently ask our non-churched friends to attend with us. We always make a very good effort to put a service together each week that is relevant and attractive enough to draw guests back again. I know of no-one at New Life who has ever worried about a guest having a bad or embarrassing experience with us. Few churches have that track record. Having re-read my notes, I have come to the conclusion that these prayer and hospitality prompts might be useful to us the week after Easter and the weeks after that. Think About It.