Easter is this weekend. I know you already knew that and that Easter is one of the two most likely weekends of the year for the “unchurched” to show up. I want to preface my Easter weekend challenge with a story that happened last weekend…
I buy, sell, and trade things on Craigslist quite regularly. Usually I am able to drive a decent bargain if someone needs (or thinks they need) the item or the cash bad enough. I had a fairly desirable smartphone that was listed for cash or trade. Someone offered an iPhone 3Gs plus some cash and other goodies. It looked like a good deal all the way around.
I got the phone home and went to update it and got an error. “Not the right model” it tells me….hmmm…something is wrong here….I check the serial number through Apple’s support site and discover that it is not an iPhone 3Gs, but a 3G (1 year older, slower CPU, and half the RAM, sells for a lot less on Craigslist). I contacted the seller, admitted that I should have checked before allowing the deal to go down, and we have worked together to make things right. See, he didn’t check either when he bought it used, either. I was very fortunate.
What does this have to do with Easter at Church?
Christmas and Easter are the “NCAA Final Four” and “Super Bowl” of the church planning year. You make sure everything is clean, in order and everyone is on its best behavior. You give the impression that you are a welcoming community of believers that desires to reach out and fulfill the Great Commission, whether your actions the other 50 weeks of the year say so or not…
Everyone has their “playoff face” going. The service goes awesome, you have a bunch of visitors, and you have even thought through the followup procedure.
Now, what are you going to do next week?
There is one way that this scenario can go well, and that is being truthful. You show the visitors who you really are as a church and what they will really see next week. You also show them who Jesus really is. Not a faint shadow of Him that is one-sided (love OR judgement) or a dim reflection wrapped in a bunch of rules, traditions, regulations, or legalism.
This is the way it should be.
Unfortunately, one or both of the following will happen in far too many churches this weekend.
Bait and Switch. Either your church is advertised to the community at large as something its not or Salvation is presented as Jesus plus some requirement, ritual, or creed. Both are a shame and uncalled for. Be who you are, love the people who come with the love of Christ and show them who Christ truly is.
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