Archives For Easter


So here we are – less than two weeks away from the biggest Sunday of the year. I just left a planning meeting with the worship pastor at my home church. We were talking about ways to turn first-time guests into second-time guests. We brainstormed about setting up a tent outside to welcome guests and give them a gift, as well as info about next steps.

The reality is all we planned to do takes a huge amount of volunteer leadership. I coached him on delegating and equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4).

But here’s the real question: How do we still have a team going forward after such a stressful and busy season as Easter?

Here are some thoughts: 

We live in a digital world. Texting, IMing, Facebook pokes, Instagram posts and daily tweets – it’s truly a whirlwind when it comes to communicating these days. Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve found that a personal touch still goes a long way (yes, even in 2018).

1. A Handwritten Note

Everybody loves to receive a handwritten note thanking them for their service on your team. We’re coming up on one of the busiest times of the year with Easter. We all know that Easter is the “Super Bowl” for churches. More people will visit your congregation than any other day of the year.

Your volunteers are going to work countless hours (your staff, too). Take the time to write out Thank You notes to each and every one of them. If you have the budget, include a gift card in the note to them. Sometimes I do Chili’s gift cards for $25. Sometimes I can only do a $10 Starbucks card. Whatever your budget can do – make it happen.

2. Phone Calls

Another thing that goes a long way in this digital world is phone calls. It seems we’ve lost the art of picking up the phone and checking on our team and seeing how they’re doing. I used to go through my team’s list of names and give them a call just to see how they were doing and if there was anything I could pray for them about. This went a long way!

3. Personal Touch

One final thought I’ll mention on a personal touch is to give out hugs. You wouldn’t believe it, but a hug goes a long way. Now I know that some people don’t like to be touched and freak out if you try to hug them. You need to be aware of body language and know if you’re making someone uncomfortable, but by and large, most people like a good ‘ole hug.

On Wednesday night rehearsals, I greeted my team members with hugs and asked how they were doing. This is in contrast to barking “Get to your station!” or “Did you hear about the changes we made?”

I’ve made it a point to not let something “business” come out of my mouth first. The person is always more important than the thing we’re trying to accomplish or produce. Check on them first and then update them on the changes. Lastly, greet them with a warm smile. Let your people know you love and care for them.

This is about valuing people over production. People are more important than what they can produce and we shouldn’t prostitute them and their gifts. God has entrusted them to us and our team and we should value them.

How long has it been since you wrote a note? How long since you called a team member? Given any hugs lately?

Let’s surprise our team and volunteers with a personal touch and an attitude of gratitude this Easter season.


We all come from different tribes, denominations, styles of music and sizes small to large. The one thing churches of all kind have in common on a day as huge as Easter is wanting to turn first-time guests into second-time guests. How do you do that?

One tool that I’ve used well over the years and highly recommend is having some sort of response card, info card, communication card or connection card – whatever you want to call it.

You can put these in the seats, in the bulletin or hand them out as people walk in. You can collect them in a variety of ways: Have the guests put them in the offering plate, or have the guests take them to a connection or collection area.

You can see a higher response rate by offering a free gift for people that turn them in at the designated area. Some churches give away books and some give away coffee mugs.

The point is to collect as many responses and connection cards as you can. Please have a circle or box that they can check off that reads “First-time Guest.” Also good to ask is, “How did you hear about us?” Also, have boxes for people to check off if they made a decision for Christ. Also good is space for people to share prayer requests.

What you do with the card once it’s turned in (what you do post-Easter) is key. As I’ve said before, “Assimilation is an often overlooked or under-appreciated part of church ministry.”

You can read all about how I did assimilation at a church where I was a Campus Pastor at HERE

Don’t have a Connection Card? Don’t know where to start? I created this sample pack (which has editable files) for you and your church. Go here to download for free!

I hope you guys have an incredible and productive week and may you see much fruit this Easter season!

Does your church website have an Easter page? It should.

Here’s why:

  1. People check you out online before they check you out in person.
  2. It shows people that your Easter services are a priority and something you’re really hoping that they attend.
  3. It gives your social media posts, images, promotions, and ads somewhere to point to (a permalink).
  4. It is shareable.
  5. It gives you one spot to announce how many services there are and if there are time changes just for that day.

Tip: Use this special Easter page as a sort of “What to Expect” page for all your incoming guests. 

Tip: Make sure this page is mobile-friendly. People will look at it on their phone to find out your service times.

I recommend creating a page on your existing church website that is located at /easter and is something easy to point all your people and promotions to. Unless like some churches have done, you make your entire homepage (above the fold) an Easter promo.

Here are some examples (NOTE: Most are last year’s page. Also note: These are not ranked – just listed as I came across them.):

  1. West Ridge Church – Great website. (They also have a separate Easter page.)
  2. Life.Church (This is still last year’s services, but I assume they’ll be updating it soon.)
  3. North Point Community Church (This is still last year’s services.)
  4. Willow Creek
  5. Liquid Church
  6. Elevation Church
  7. Buckhead Church
  8. Church of the Highlands (Notice the What to Expect section)
  9. Rock Church
  10. Bayside Church
  11. First Dallas (NOTE: They have a long permalink. Make it short and simple like /Easter.)
  12. Cornerstone Church
  13. Christ Fellowship
  14. Potential Church
  15. Canyon Ridge Christian Church

I have a whole chapter dedicated to Online Presence in my book Secrets of a Secret Shopper. Buy it today, share it with your team, and do all you can to turn first-time guests into second-time guests.

NOTE: I’m writing this now so you have plenty of time to work on something before early March and promote your Easter services for about a month.


Death was arrested

So, you made it through the big weekend. Now the real work begins! Now you focus on turning those first-time guests into second time guests. This is where your assimilation process kicks in. I wrote about my process here. I also wrote about taking care of and thanking your volunteers and staff here.

Now would be a good time to run Facebook and Instagram ads promoting your new series that either just kicked off or kicks off this coming Sunday. Encourage your people to invite. Post plenty of sharable content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Encourage your people to share the media and invite their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.

So, let’s review! Here’s what jumped out at me from my contacts and friends in churches around North America:

  1. Songs of the season: “Death Was Arrested” by North Point, followed by “Resurrecting” by Elevation Worship. I wrote about the song for Easter two years ago here. It was “Forever” by Kari Jobe and I know a ton of churches still did that song. A powerful response song is “Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship. Many churches used that this year as a song to follow the message, which is very appropriate as it has lyrics about Christ being risen from the dead.
  2. Signs of the season: Man churches created awesome, colorful, text-rich signs to hold for greeters, parking lot attenders and baptisms.  Signs 2 Welcome signs 2

Baptism signs

3. Next level guest services: With the welcome signs as seen above and the fun transportation for kids as seen below, churches rolled out the red carpet!

Kids ride

4. Intentional return tactics: Realizing that many guests were there for the first-time, many churches gave out invite cards to invite people back for the next week. Remember if you can turn first-time guests into second-time guests, they are 80% more likely to get plugged in and start a relationship with Christ. (Nelson Searcy – Fusion).

Invite to return

  • So get together with your team and review this past Sunday. See what worked, what didn’t work, where you can improve and ideas that you can implement in the future. It’s never too late to start doing things with excellence. Guest services and first impressions matter.
  • If I can help you in any way, contact me here. Let’s reach this nation for Christ!


I was worshiping with Chris Tomlin’s song “At the Cross” the other night and I thought it was the perfect testimony for me. I share the lyrics with you now as a Good Friday testimony and reflection:

“At The Cross”

There’s a place where mercy reigns and never dies
There’s a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down[Chorus:]
At the cross
At the cross
I surrender my life
I’m in awe of You
I’m in awe of You
Where Your love ran red
and my sin washed white
I owe all to You
I owe all to You Jesus

There’s a place where sin and shame are powerless
Where my heart has peace with God and forgiveness
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down


Here my hope is found
Here on holy ground
Here I bow down
Here I bow down
Here arms open wide
Here You save my life
Here I bow down
Here I bow down


Here are some Easter highlights shared with Christian Media Magazine from churches around the world:

Easter at The Orchard in Chicago:

Easter at The Orchard in Chicago

Easter Recap Video 2014 from OKC Opening:

Easter 2014 Opening Video “Amazing Grace” from Wes Gillett on Vimeo.

 Freedom Church in Georgia:

Dead In The Water from Freedom Church on Vimeo.

The Meeting House in Toronto, Canada:

This Man Named Jesus — Reverse Poem from The Meeting House on Vimeo.

Life Church in Peterborough, UK:

Celebration Church in Salinas, California (featuring Gabby Martay Williams of CMM): 

Easter 2014 at Willow Creek Community Church:

Saddleback Church Easter 2014: 

C4 Church in Canada:


Two of my songwriting and worship leading heroes have come together to create a great new worship song that is perfect for Easter. I hope you’ll check it out. Here are the lyrics:

He Is Risen

By Paul Baloche & Graham Kendrick

Early morning break of dawn
Stumbling to the tomb
Standing awestruck wondering who
Rolled away the stone
And as the sun came up
Amazed they looked inside
A voice, an angel clothed in light
Don’t be afraid, He is alive!

He is risen 
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Christ is risen
Let the whole world sing
Christ is risen 
Christ is risen from the dead

Sing, with all creation sing
Of a world made new
In His life we too may live
Bursting from the tomb
And looking up we see
Our King enthroned on high
His wounds of love now glorified
Rejoice, for soon He’ll burst the skies


Copyright © 2013 Thankyou Music & Integrity Worship Music/Leadworship Songs

CCLI Number: 6606369

Watch Paul lead the song live:

What songs are you planning to use this Easter at your church?


Many people don’t realize that I was a worship leader for 12 years and have been involved in worship ministry in some way for the last twenty-plus years. I also have a degree in music/worship. One thing I love doing is finding new songs and sharing them with friends in ministry. With my platform via my blog and as the Editor of Christian Media Magazine, I get to share with a large audience.

So here you go: The song that I predict will be heard all around the world this year on Easter. I stumbled across this live video of Kari Jobe singing “Forever” with Brian Johnson and Bethel Live some time ago. I wanted to introduce you to it today because Kari Jobe’s new single will be available on iTunes tomorrow 2/18/14. I’ve always been a big fan of Kari Jobe and the spirit in which she leads worship. I encourage you to purchase this song and help it go straight to #1. “Now death where is your sting?”

Want to experience like I first did? Watch this video:

*** Get the chord chart HERE

*** You can download the song from iTunes HERE.

*** Also released is this song on Get your tracks for this song HERE.

Easter is over! Are you glad? Are you exhausted and relaxing today? I hope so. I’d love to hear about your Easter services. Tell me how things went at your church. I got to experience a number of Easter services. Friday night I watched the live stream online of Church of Hope in Ocala, FL. Saturday night, I went to church online with and Flamingo Road Church. Sunday, we drove to Atlanta and went to North Point Community Church – awesome!

Today, I’m taking my family to Opening Day baseball game at the Atlanta Braves. I took my son to Opening Day last year with the Texas Rangers. As you know, I love going to baseball games. I’m really looking forward to our family taking in the first game of the season together this afternoon. I grew up a Braves fan and have fond memories.

I’m so grateful to all my friends that have been guest blogging for me so I could concentrate on my book. I’ve been able to get some serious writing done. I have a few more guests that I want you to hear from starting back tomorrow.

Again, tell me how yesterday was for you!

I met with a church leader yesterday and we were discussing ideas for this year’s Easter service at his church. I’m curious about you and your church. Please share what you guys are working on for Easter.