3 Easter Sunday Failures That Guarantee Visitors Never Come Back To Your Church

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Cliff Notes Version!

For the short bullet point version of this post click the button to the right.

Easter is just a few days away and church organizations all over are finishing up their final preparations for what could be described as the Super Bowl of church services.

People from all over our communities will show up for services, cookouts, and easter egg hunts… and then just as quickly as they arrived, the majority will never be seen again, until perhaps next year.

The majority of us know this but what do we do about it?

I don’t think the answer is in better services, music or sermons. It’s not in a community easter egg hunt, hot dog roast or picnic. It is however in what happens during all these things and it comes down to two words:

Being Genuine.

Easter is a day full of opportunity and hope for so many people that choose to embrace it. This hope is found in the celebration of the life of Christ and the grace He offers us who are broken and sinful. Grace that doesn’t require us to look “all together” to receive it but grace that instead covers a multitude of sins… Right, where we are.

So, us being the church and having this message saturated in grace, why is it so many people never interact with our communities after easter?

I think there are many reasons but for the sake of time I’ve narrowed it down to 3 that we can do something about this Easter Sunday without changing anything other than ourselves.

Here are 3 Easter Sunday Failures that guarantee visitors never come back to your church.

FAILURE #1 – BEING FAKE FRIENDLY

The church body, unbeknownst to them have become masters at being fake friendly. We approach new visitors like checkmarks on a list and hurry through meeting as many as we can.

Fake friendly asks, “Hi, how are you?” without ever expecting more than a response of “good” or “fine.”

People want to feel like they are loved and cared for. Take a moment to think about why you go to the church organization you go to? I would venture to say, more so than not, you are there because you have some connection to the people.

People want to feel like they are loved and cared for.
Sure, you might like the music or the pastor, child care, youth ministry or that they have really awesome coffee in the café but if you take away the relationships you have with the people; then none of the other stuff would keep you there.

This Easter Sunday, let’s focus on being genuine and real.

Meeting new people can be awkward, I get it. But we all do it throughout life so we might as well be real about it.

Whenever I’m trying to build a relationship with someone new I ask two questions (literally every time):


1. Did you grow up in this area?

2. What kind of hobbies/interests do you have?



All these two questions do is get the other person talking about their life and interests. Out of their answers, I always find common ground that we can talk about further.

The point is I want to know what they like, I want to know who they are and what they care about. This is the nature of relationships: caring enough to take the time to learn what makes a person who they are.

Try it this Easter Sunday, I guarantee you will find common ground and possibly a new friend.

FAILURE #2 – ONLY SHOWING EFFORT ON EASTER SUNDAY

It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the events and programs that go into making an Easter Sunday service. While all these efforts are good and do make a difference, if we simply think they will cause people to come running to our congregation by droves then we haven’t been paying attention to past Easter Sunday events.

Ed Stetzer in his post, Don’t Waste Your Spike: Easter Attendance, Effective Follow Up, and Your Church, says,

“Unfortunately, most churches don’t follow up or they follow up poorly. They see a one-day spike in attendance and hope it continues, but they make little to no effort to engage their guests and encourage them to return.” – Ed Stetzer

We have to look past Easter Sunday in our efforts to reach new visitors and it’s not the staff or pastors responsibility to accomplish this.

Let me repeat that: It’s not the responsibility of the pastors or staff to build relationships with new visitors this is the responsibility of the church… It is our opportunity.

Pastors and staff can’t build deep relationships with everyone in the congregation. It’s just not possible without spreading themselves too thin and in return dropping the ball with the very relationships they are trying to build.

If visitors are going to feel welcomed and cared for, it’s going to happen through the hands, feet, and words of the congregation being Jesus to them outside of just Easter Sunday.

Use your time building relationships on Easter Sunday as ground to follow up later. I know you’re afraid of being a nuisance. While this is something to be mindful of, it’s much worse to never do anything because of this fear.

I suggest starting small:


1. Shoot them over a quick handwritten note or email just to say hello.

2. Invite them out to lunch or dinner to get to know them.


There is a statistic I read by Thom Rainer that said, “Ninety-six percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if they are invited.”

I’m not huge on statistics but that one caught me off guard. 96% just need to have someone care enough to invite them to consider attending a church service.

I think this applies to more than just services. People just need to be invited to join in with us. Which leads to my final point.

FAILURE #3 – DON’T INVITE THEM BACK

In case you are skimming through this post (no judgment, I do it too) and missed that last statistic, 96% of people just need someone to invite them to consider attending a service.

The number 1 way we can guarantee visitors never come back to our church community is to never invite them.

I remember when my wife and I had left the church, we felt like no one even noticed we weren’t there. Shoot, we even had some people a few months ago that had no idea we had given up for a few years. They just thought we moved on to another congregation.

I’m not trying to say the church failed us, nope not at all. What I am saying is that being intentional to check in with people and invite them to community with us matters.

Relationships matter and because they matter that means they will take intentional effort to build.

Don’t get hung up on inviting them to church service either. Actually, I recommend inviting them to lunch, dinner, bowling, or whatever first.

The point is not to get them to come back and warm a pew seat, it’s to build a relationship with them. So, if you have a weekly card night, invite them. Going out to do some shopping, invite them. Make openings in your life that give an opportunity for others to fit in and you will find not only your church will grow but your relationships will flourish and your walk with Christ grow stronger.

Relationships matter and because they matter that means they will take intentional effort to build.

P.S. – There is a book worth of information I can write about this topic. Easter is our celebration of the resurrection of Christ and that message alone is life changing and grace-filled. It’s at the core of our Christian faith and shouldn’t be left out. But I also think it is important we honor that message by being good caretakers of what Christ has given us. He shows Himself through us. So, this Sunday love one another as Jesus showed His love for us. Take time to break out of the routine and discover what makes someone else who they are. Care for people where they are, ask questions and the Listen. What you might hear is the very heart of Christ in those conversations.

If you decide to branch out this coming Easter Sunday, let me know what you learn. I would love to hear your stories.



B-Points | Cliff Notes Version

1. Don’t Be Fake Friendly.
Make an intentional effort to get to know the person. Don’t settle for the standard “How are you? Good/Fine” conversation.

2. Ask Questions To Find Common Ground To Build Relationship.
I always ask two questions: 1. Did you grow up in this area? 2. What kind of hobbies/interests do you have?

3. Take Time To Follow Up.
Use your time building relationships on Easter Sunday as ground to follow up later. I know you’re afraid of being a nuisance. While this is something to be mindful of, it’s much worse to never do anything because of this fear.

I suggest starting small:

a. Shoot them over a quick handwritten note or email just to say hello.

b. Invite them out to lunch or dinner to get to know them.

4. Don’t Just Expect the Pastors/Staff To Follow Up.
If visitors are going to feel welcomed and cared for, it’s going to happen through the hands, feet, and words of the congregation being Jesus to them outside of just Easter Sunday.

5. Invite Them To Relationship.
– The number 1 way we can guarantee visitors never come back to our church community is to never invite them.
– Make openings in your life that give an opportunity for others to fit in and you will find not only your church will grow but your relationships will flourish and your walk with Christ grow stronger.
– Don’t just invite them to service. I suggest inviting them to lunch, dinner, or some other activity first. The goal is to build the relationship not to just warm a pew.