Easter is only a month away! Don't wait until the last minute to plan community outreach!
Easter, Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday - This time of year is a great opportunity to reach out to people in your community. Yet, just like Christmas, it can often be a major stress point for many churches. Because of our commitment to helping churches be effective through simplicity, here are four Easter outreach ideas that any church, small or large, can carry out without the stress and burnout that comes with major productions.
The beauty of these outreach ideas is that you can involve the entire church, or various groups within the church. These ideas don't fall solely upon the few technical and musically gifted individuals (like all major "outreaches" typically do).
- Easter Dinners in Homes
Organizing huge events for a large group of people can be overwhelming and expensive. It can also be intimidating for individuals who are not part of your church to attend a big event with a bunch of people they don't believe they have common ground with. Instead, try empowering and encouraging your congregating to invite a few neighbors or friends over for Easter dinner with their families.
Perhaps encourage your people to invite one believing family from the church and one or two other families who may not be believers. This is a small enough group to create deep and meaningful connection, while also giving the families who aren't connected to your church opportunity to meet another family who is.
Imagine if instead of offering an Easter service, each family in your church hosted one or two families for Easter dinner? The relationships formed and the impact could be much greater than a service.
- Dinner for Homeless and Hungry
If you have the space, hosting an Easter dinner for the homeless and the hungry is always a great outreach and blessing to many individuals who are struggling. Doing this on Easter weekend, whether Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday or the Saturday in between, is a great reason to take a moment during the dinner to share the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ with those who are there. They are likely much more receptive to hearing this during this time of year as well.
- Easter Egg Hunt
Easter Egg Hunts aren't a new idea. But, this year try organizing Easter Egg hunts in a park or in multiple neighborhoods, rather than on the church grounds. While an Easter Egg hunt taking place on church grounds usually attracts more members of the church, congregants calling out "heresy", and skeptics waiting for the bait and switch - An Easter egg hunt taking place in a neighborhood or neutral setting such as a park can attract all sorts of families in the community.
Of course we're called to preach the Gospel. But, holding an Easter egg hunt as a service to the community without any ulterior motives can be a major step in disarming cynics and breaking down barriers. If you have a number of believing families present to meet and form bonds with the families who are there with their kids, telling them you're with a church and just want to serve the community can plant a meaningful seed in their lives. It's great to invite those families to church or another event - but really encourage the believing families to instead take it upon themselves to be intentional about building friendships with the families they meet.
- Easter Baskets for Neighbors
Encourage church families to put together small Easter baskets to deliver to their neighbors, no strings attached. Better yet, if the church has the budget, the church could pay for the supplies and gather families together a week beforehand to assembly and pray over baskets.
The goal is to be a blessing to the neighbors of your church families. It's okay to let them know the basket is from a church, and it's okay to include some materials (a brochure or DVD) which share what Easter means to Christians and proclaims the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But, fill the basket with all sorts of goodies, not just chocolates and candy, but anything else which neighbors of families may also find meaningful - or at least a little more healthy. Then, have your church families deliver baskets to their own neighbors - you know, the ones they see throughout the week and already have a slight friendship with.
Build a Team and Start Planning!
Don't wait to start planning your Easter outreach! These are simple ideas which require minimal logistics, less stress, and can be extremely effective in reaching your community. Begin by finding one or two individuals who (or a few in a larger church) who will take ownership over planning Easter outreach opportunities.