7 Sure Ways to Ensure an Incredible Experience This Easter

Easter Experience Someone once said that Easter is the “Superbowl” of Christianity – the biggest event of the year.

Typically, on this day we have no problem attracting people to our churches.  However, the challenge before us is to create such an experience that our visitors increase their visits from one time of year to multiple times a year — to eventually become active members of the Church.

As pastors, we MUST commit to planning earlier for our Easter services.  Treating this day like any other Sunday would be a missed evangelistic opportunity.

Many churches that are seeing increases in membership, plan for these services a year in advance.  This demonstrates that they are being not only evangelistic, but ‘intentional.’

With just a couple of weeks before Easter, I believe we still can put together some new things to have a successful evangelistic Easter Service.

 

Here are 7 things we can do right away to ensure great experience this Easter:

Theologians – Making Mountains out of MoleHills?

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This blog addresses a few criticism I received on a play I wrote and produced called, “The Cup.”  The drama ran on Thursday and Friday of Holy week (Easter).  This year marked its second year in production.  I am thrilled to report it was packed house on both nights.

The play depicted Jesus time and agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I unpacked the figurative ‘Cup’ that Jesus asked God to remove from Him – exploring the types of sin that was in each of the cups with special attention given to the last cup that brought Jesus down to His knees making Him sweat drops of blood.

God really showed up as we attempted to display Jesus’ love, His compassion and ultimate sacrifice for you and for me.

Of course there is always a critic – and that’s okay!

Now let me say it this way, I (we) received many compliments about how great the production was.  It warmed my heart, as well as the cast of plus 60 and all those who worked behind the scenes.

But there were those who found fault with the production.   Let me me first say that “We won’t grow if everyone is constantly saying to us, “How Great Thou Art.”   You can not improve upon perfection because perfection is the ultimate. And I admit I am no where near perfection.

Constructive criticism is always helpful because the motivation behind it is that the person really wants to see you do better.  But then there are what I call  ‘Modern Day Pharisees – MDPs.’ In biblical times Pharisees gave Jesus a hard time rebuking Him for not washing His hands, not making His disciples fast or healing people on the Sabbath Day.

In other words, they were sweating over the small stuff!

The Bridge – A Father’s Sacrifice

“Father, take this Cup from Me…”

Some of you know that I write and direct skits and drama productions.  My most recent production was called, “The Cup.”  The drama was centered around the Garden of Gethsemane and depicted the struggle between good and evil.

We explored from an allegory point of view just what could have been the contents of these cups that Jesus asked God to remove from Him.

The goal was for those sitting in the audience to see not only their sins before them, but to also witness firsthand Jesus’ initial struggle with the prospect of Calvary.

2 Videos Designed to Set the Stage

I had two videos I wanted the congregation to see before starting the production.

Because of some technical difficulties I had to download them again. One of videos I wanted to show right before the production started.  It was entitled, “The Bridge.”

This clip was used to set the stage showing the audience the REAL cost of sacrifice, especially to those unaware of what was done just for them.

The Bible Miniseries Critic’s Challenge

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Heard the saying, “Everyone’s a Critic”?

I received some comments and criticisms about the Bible Miniseries on how Satan was portrayed to look like President Obama.  This statement has gone viral and people are now all ‘out of sorts.’

We will always have critics and those who stir up dissension among the masses. In my opinion, I don’t believe that Roma and Mark (the producers of the show) went out to purposely look for an Obama look-a-like to play the role of Satan.

I will say however, this seems to me, like a demonic ploy to lead a protest against the show and I am sure that the ‘real’ Satan is getting a kick out of it!

Paving the Way?

Could it be, that in spite of these types of up rises, as well as our theological differences, that this Bible Miniseries could be used as a sort of ‘forerunner’ (like John the Baptist) paving the way that would ultimately bring in new people to our churches who may be finally ready to make a commitment to Christ?

Why critics so hostile?

Further, is it necessary for the ‘Christian’ community to be so hostile in expressing their views against the show?

It reminds me of the Pharisees in the Bible.  They did not rejoice over the healing, rather, they made an issue out of the fact that the healing took place on the Sabbath!

Our bickering and criticisms amongst one another illustrates, once again, the “GREAT DIVIDE.”

Who would want to join a religion or come into a relationship with Jesus when His supposed followers can’t agree on anything regarding their faith?

Someone wrote “A little poison kills” to which I say, “..and so does starvation.”

Let’s give credit to those who are making attempts.

At least they are doing something! They are making an attempt to evangelize and expose people to the Word.

Let’s tell the truth and shame the devil –  if exposing people to the Word or evangelizing were left up to many of us as their only form of nourishment, the people would ‘starve’ to death!

Are there some theological issues that I have concerning the show?

You bet.  I see them and have made note of them and will use this platform to discuss them.

Are they show stoppers?

In my opinion, they are not ‘show stoppers’ but opportunities for discussion. I offer a challenge to use the show as a segue to begin conversations of faith. Think about it, what an opportunity this could be.

To those who are ‘UNchurched’, we should use caution so that we do not play into validating their beliefs that the Bible contradicts itself, rather discuss scenes that in your view were theologically represented correctly.

For the believer, this is an opportunity to dig deeper for greater revelation.

 

Stay tuned I believe I will begin to address in a more formal way some of the theological issues that surfaced during the show.

 

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The Bible Miniseries – Pastors, Great Outreach Opportunity!

Some of you maybe aware of the upcoming miniseries entitled, “The Bible” created and produced by Roma Downey of Touch by an Angel and her husband, Mark Burnett.

The Bible is a ten-hour, five-week, miniseries beginning on March 3, 2013 airing ‘prime time’ on the History Channel 8PM – 10PM.

The Bible will air on Sunday nights where viewers will see some of the best-known stories from The Bible:  Noah’s Ark,  the Exodus,  Jesus’ birth and His disciples. The final episode of the miniseries will air on Easter Sunday and will feature the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

Why broadcast on the History Channel?

Roma Downey, Star of Touch by an Angel and  husband, Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, Celebrity Apprentice).

Roma Downey, Star of Touch by an Angel and husband, Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, Celebrity Apprentice).

The History Channel has received a lot of criticism from the Christian community because of their slant on the Bible which is often wrong.

This makes one ask why Roma and Mark decided to showcase their movie on the History Channel. They indicated that..

  1. out of all the networks interviewed , the History Channel vowed to do the ‘best’ promotion and
  2. typically during the Easter season, the History Channel, as well as others, will broadcast shows calling our faith into question like: ‘Who was the Real Jesus,’ ‘Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene?’ and shows like The DaVinci Code.

They saw it as an opportunity to broadcast the full Gospel, a meta narrative of the complete faithful message for the full month of March.

 

Pastors – Seize opportunity to be creative

Make the most of this opportunity to reach out to the people in your community who will be watching the series but may not attend church.

I believe Rick Warren said it best when he said, “One way to build a bridge between God’s Word and the issues of our day is to tie a sermon series into some cultural event, something that has already caught the attention of many people.”

He cited an example that when we were going through an economic crisis here in America, he preached a sermon on God’s principles for money management demonstrating HOW the Bible offers wise and practical advice on how to handle your finances.

Warren also took advantage on riding the Passion wave by Mel Gibson in that he preached a series entitled, “How Love Speaks: 7 Words From the Cross”.

Pastors –  Don’t forget Facebook and Twitter

Pastors, Bible teachers, small group leaders who are active with the social networks such as Facebook or Twitter,  you can connect with your congregation, groups, friends  using these platforms as well.  You can speak to one another during commercials or after the show or even the next day.

Pose questions of your own and or pose the questions using the study guidebook made available from Outreach.com .

Do you blog?

Of course, if you have a blog you could use that as a platform as well to dialog with your folks.

Resources are available – some even FREE!

Working with The Bible series team, Outreach has produced The Bible 30 Day Church Experience Kit along with a small group DVD study and personal guidebook so that you can help your church and community experience the Bible in a whole new way.

Outreach, Inc. also hopes pastors will encourage their flock to host their own viewing parties and are providing FREE “Bible Viewing Host Kits” to anyone interested.

Added Bonus

I just heard an interview from Mark and Roma that  the Lifetime Network will also air The Bible Miniseries on Mondays AND there will be a repeat broadcast on Wednesday evening on the History Channel – that’s THREE viewing opportunities available!

Won’t you ride this wave?

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