I am a senior pastor; I have been one for more than 30 years.
So, I know the subtle pressure that can sneak in: to produce, provide and program for those who show up each week. It often comes from a good place—we want to draw people into our church and keep them so we can help them know God. Plus, attendance and contribution numbers matter when you have made commitments to pay for your building, ministerial staff, and missional efforts.
But attempting to draw a crowd can also make the heart of a leader go numb, especially when you feel pressure to cater to the expectations of cultural and consumer Christians. They wince at Jesus’ hard teachings and they want the church to cater to their every desire and personal need.
Then, on the other hand, I also know what it means to call people to be disciples of Jesus.
With this juxtaposition, Easter presents a challenge for every church leader. How do we attend to the cultural/consumer Christians while also seeking to draw them into discipling relationships?
Here are five ways that we at my church will try to lead those who attend our Easter events to come back and join us in ongoing discipling relationships.
1. Clearly Cast the Vision
Easter is the time we celebrate hope in Jesus. We will talk about the gospel, about forgiveness, and about the resurrection of Jesus. But we will also talk about discipling relationships as we normally do. In the sermon and in the announcements, we will tell people that, as a church, we are ultimately about these relationships. We will tell stories, describe our experiences in groups, and we will invite people to join us in those relationships. We will make our vision clear: we are about relationships that help people to trust and follow Jesus.
For King Jesus,
Bobby Harrington, Point-Leader Discipleship.org