Yesterday was Easter Sunday — pretty much the biggest Sunday for us pastors. The pressure was on early this year, since Easter came so Early. But, the folks show up in their Sunday best (even in Boston). Familiar and unfamiliar faces find their way into the seats to celebrate the risen King. Or, at least, to have something to do before brunch.
In any case, Easter Sunday can be a source of massive encouragement and/or massive discouragement for us pastors. So, here are four handy reminders for those of you who find yourself in ministry this meaning, either feeling either good or bad over what are simply the wrong things.
Church Competition Sucks
Measuring my church's crowd against your church's crowd is just terrible. I've been on both sides of that equation. When church is small, you think, "I'll feel better better when it's bigger." But, you don't. When the church is big you think, "I wonder if I'll see many of these people again." Quit comparing your church to something else. Pretty sure the only one who wins there is the devil. Be faithful with what you have, not fretful over what you don't.
Mustering Crowds is Easier Than Making Disciples
Fact: If you give me a million dollars in my marketing and outreach budget, my church will "grow" enormously.
I love that a lot of people came yesterday. And, I'm grateful that it was more than the previous year. But let's be honest, it's way easter to muster a crowd than to make disciples. Fellow pastors, let's celebrate the little movements of discipleship more than the big moments. It seems to me Jesus would feel that way. You know, more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents, and all that.
The Easter Moment Could Make Movement
Here's what's great about Easter: opportunity for movement. As my old pastor used to say, people are more likely to believe the gospel if they're in church hearing the gospel. The crowd is bad at all. It's an opportunity. So, however yesterday went, learn from what happened. How could you turn great moments into discipleship movements?
Jesus Rose for Pastors, Too
Hey, Pastor, Jesus rose for you, too. If yesterday was awesome, it wasn't so awesome that the resurrection is somehow less great — peripheral. In fact, if you weren't stunned at the resurrection yesterday, it's a good indication that you're attempting to metabolize ministry success into spiritual life. Not good.
And, if yesterday was terrible, it wasn't so terrible that resurrection won't redeem it. Fellow shepherd, Christ is alive. He is our hope, not just the hope of our people.