The Eleventh Hour Easter Checklist
*quietly clears throat*
Hi. It’s me, Danny. And I’m talking to you on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. That’s five days before Easter. If you’re a church leader, you may be freaking out just a bit right now, because there’s much … so much … to do and little … so little … time to do it.
While I maintain that Easter is not our Super Bowl, there’s a lot that needs to get done. And maybe you’re frozen in place or overwhelmed or just plain exhausted, and you can’t think straight. I get it. I’ve been there. I may or may not be there as we speak.
A few years back I wrote a post called The Procrastinator’s Guide to Easter, so this year I thought it might be helpful to build on that and give you the Eleventh Hour Easter Checklist. This is not an exhaustive list … after all, there are some things (like a Church Planter Drop™) that just can’t get done five days before. But it is (in my opinion) a list of 17 “easy enough” essentials so that you’ll be ready to serve your Easter guests well.
For your staff
- Run through the entire service plan. This will be one of your largest-attended service by guests, so talk about how you’ll talk to them, and spit shake and pinky promise that you won’t shame them.
- Talk through every “normal” weekend element and decide what to adjust. Maybe your high school students need to forego their gathering so (a) they can serve in other roles and (b) you can use their space if necessary.
- Laugh together. There are a lot of high-stakes and long lists this week, but enjoy one another and don’t take yourselves too seriously. (Like, for real. Stop what you’re doing and send a goofy note of encouragement to a co-worker.)
For your facility
- Do a walk through. Pick up junk you haven’t noticed in months. Take some Windex to the front window. Pull a few weeds out front.
- Put out more chairs. You’ll probably need them. No need to wait until the service starts to roll them in from the fellowship hall.
- Decide on an additional venue. If your auditorium fills up, where will people go? Who will you ask to go there? Have you communicated this to staff and leaders? (Oh, and also … we don’t do “overflow” … that’s for toilets.)
For your volunteers
- Communicate. Send an email or make a few phone calls about what’s different, what is changing, what is expected, and extra areas where they can serve.
- Get there early. It may feel like a normal weekend for many of your vols, but create a moment (breakfast, perhaps?) to help them to arrive early and have their game faces on.
- Celebrate stories. Remind them of what God did in past Easter services, stories he’s currently writing in the lives of guests, and ways in which he’s using your team to do write those stories.
- Honor relationships. Remember that many of your vols will have family coming in from out of town or friends they’re inviting. Work with them on this, and don’t make them feel bad for having a life.
For your guests
- Check your website. Are your service times accurate? Is your “What to expect” section up to date? Is there anything different from the norm that you need to spell out for Easter? It should all be there.
- Be ready. Easter is your chance to practice some of the things we’ve talked about recently: think outside in. Develop your skeleton crew. Move 18 inches.
- Provide a next step. Do you offer a newcomers event? Get that on the calendar and get the date in front of your newcomers. Two weeks after Easter feels like an achievable goal.
- Follow up. Don’t you dare get a guest’s info and then fail to touch base with them afterward. (See our recent four part series on follow-up here.)
For your soul
- Remember that it’s not about you. Easter is the cornerstone of Christianity. What Jesus accomplished on the cross means that we don’t have to prove anything about ourselves. Rest in that and lead your volunteers to do the same.
- Remember that it’s not a big deal. I’m gonna get flack about this one, so let me be clear: the crucifixion and resurrection are the biggest of deals. But because it is, that means that it’s okay if not everything goes according to your Easter plan. Work hard to get ready, and then trust that the Holy Spirit will work in spite of our imperfections.
- Remember to take a Sabbath. I just had the conversation with my team that we’re on a dead sprint from now until Easter, but I expect all of us to take some extended downtime in the week afterward. It’s true that Easter Sunday may be far from a day of rest, but you can still reflect on Good Friday, rest (somewhat) on Saturday, and then take the flippin’ day off on Monday.