The question was simple enough.
“Is your church doing anything special for Easter?”
My answer made me feel a bit guilty.
I told my friend no. I couldn’t help but wonder if this made me a bad pastor. Was I not taking the resurrection of Christ seriously enough? Should I have planned some big event? This line of internal questioning only lasted a second or two. I have the same debate with myself every year. Eventually, I come back to one reality.
The message is enough.
Churches like to go crazy around Easter. They boast of having large egg hunts. When that gets worn out, they carpet bomb fields with eggs. In one Ohio church, a youth leader was caught on video asking kids to cut him, spit on him, and punch him so that he could, “Show them how much Jesus loved them.” In another year or so, I’m sure that some church will launch giant golden eggs from a nuclear submarine – each one containing a Christian celebrity with a signed copy of her latest book. Whatever it takes to draw a crowd, right?
We miss the point of Easter if we reduce it to the size of the crowd we can draw and the spectacular gimmicks we can pull off.
Resurrection Sunday is a special day. It’s the day when we consider the empty tomb and all that it means. It’s the day when a lot of people come to church who haven’t been to church since Christmas. A friend of mine calls it Super Bowl Sunday for pastors. It really is an important day.
But at the same time, it’s also an average Sunday. That’s not putting down Easter Sunday. It’s elevating every other Sunday, and day for that matter. Regardless of the time of year, the crowds that come, or the series the pastor is preaching through, the cross and empty tomb should be at the center of everything the church teaches, preaches, and sings. Without Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, what’s the point (1 Corinthians 15:12-32)? There are other places to get coffee and pep talks.
If your church doesn’t have an egg dropping drone or a jetpack Easter bunny but it joyfully, winsomely, and faithfully proclaims the message of Christ dying for the sins of his people and rising from the grave three days later, your church has enough.
The message is enough.
The message is enough because the message is exceptional. It’s a message of Christ delivering his people from sin and death by taking on the full wrath of God in their place. It’s a message of a God so loving that he died for his people and so powerful that even the grave could not hold him. No amount of eggs or goofy gimmicks can add to or takeaway from that exceptional message. The best thing my fellow church leaders can do this weekend is simply proclaim that exceptional message, get out of the way, and trust God with the results.
I hope that your church isn’t really doing anything all that special this weekend.
I hope that it’s just another average, exceptional Sunday.