6 Ways to Help You Master Last Minute Easter Communications (Checklist included)
You're acutely aware, but Easter is just days away. The next several days gear up for what is often the largest attended Sunday in many churches. Regardless of attendance, we recognize Easter Sunday as a "step above" the other 51 Sundays of the year. While every Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, Easter Sunday is something even more special. People not part of the church also recognize Easter Sunday as a uniquely special day in the Christian church.
That means right now, it's time to step up your communication game. And we're here to help. As you gear up for what may be the largest gathering your church has held in recent years, here are some quick-hitting tips to help you master your communications in the next few days.
The church website
I'm sure you realize this by now, but guests who are thinking about attending your church on Easter Sunday will check out your website before they decide to attend. Realizing that your church's website is the first impression, make sure to put your best foot forward!
Take a deep breath. Now, let's go to your website and take a fresh look to see what your visitor—who knows nothing about your church—finds when they discover your church website.
What's the first thing you see when your website loads? Is it a picture? Text? A combination of the two? The images you choose to fill this top spot ought to elicit warm feelings toward your church. Use a recent photo of people in worship or doing ministry. The text that someone sees right away hopefully answers a felt need—why should a website visitor continue looking at your website?
Continue thinking like a visitor: is it easy to locate essential information about your church? What makes your church unique? What does a visitor need to know before their visit? How about when they visit? Are there opportunities to participate in a worship service online? Think about your website visitors' questions, and ensure those answers are easy to find—either on your homepage or within a click.
In addition to the general details to help guests make an informed decision, you should have Easter-specific information readily available. Within one click, anyone should be able to find your church's Easter information. Your Easter page might duplicate a lot of the information found elsewhere on your website. Your Easter page should include basic details but also information specific to Easter Sunday, like:
Where to park
What to wear
Kids' ministry information
What to expect before, during, and after the service.
This information helps visitors make an informed decision before they arrive at your building, and it helps them feel confident once they come.
If you haven't updated your social media profiles in a little while, now is the time to schedule some posts. Head to each of your church's social profiles and make sure all the details are updated. You may even want to add details to the social profile specific to Easter (or a link to your Easter web page).
On Facebook, create a Facebook event for your Easter Sunday services. Fill it in with all the details that a guest will want to know, and link to your church's Easter page. Then share the event with your audiences and invite people to the event. A Facebook event is an easy way for your church members to invite their friends on Facebook.
Schedule a few posts to publish over the next few days about Easter. Talk about what will be unique about your Easter services; ask questions to get people talking about Easter; provide details for guests to know what to expect.
A personal invitation is always the best outreach tool. People are far more likely to come to an event or participate in something because someone they know asked them to come. Even better, more people are likely to accept an invitation to attend church on Easter Sunday than any other Sunday. To capitalize on this opportunity, make it easy for your church to invite others to Easter Sunday by providing them with tools and options.
We just talked about how a Facebook event is an easy tool for people to use to invite others to Easter. You can also provide other tools for your church to invite new people. Print some flyers or postcards. Send an Easter-specific email and encourage people to send it on to their friends and family as a way to invite them. You could also provide people with text and pictures to post on their own social media profiles, or the church's social profiles could post stories, reels, and updates with details about Easter (and ask people to share them on their own social media).
Even though the clock is running down toward Easter, it's still not too late! You can create and provide plenty of ways to encourage people to invite others to Easter in the next several days.
Information collection and follow up
If you're preparing to receive guests on Easter Sunday, it's crucial to consider the follow-up. How will you follow up with your guests? How will you collect their information? Thinking through these details is vital to make your guests feel welcome, allowing them to ask questions or get more information, and ensuring that they don't feel pressured to give more information than they're ready to provide.
One easy way to gather information from prospective guests is to offer a "Plan your visit" form on your website's Easter page. Give the potential visitor an incentive to fill out this information. Maybe filling out this digital form will cut down on time at the kids' ministry registration desk. Or perhaps you'll have a member of your church's hospitality team waiting at the entrance for their arrival to give them the VIP experience. Or maybe filling out a form means they receive an email with more details tailored to them about what they can expect on Sunday. Give a clear call to action on your Easter page—and give them a practical reason to fill out the form.
On Easter, it may be good to provide every person who walks in with a connection card. Then take time during the service to have everyone fill it out. If everyone fills out the card, it helps guests not feel out of place. There are many reasons to have everyone fill this card out together, too. You may get more prayer requests if you provide space. You may get more up-to-date information on the people already in your database. It may give you a better idea of what families attended on Easter Sunday in larger contexts.
If this doesn't work for your church, one alternative could be gathering guest information at a meet and greet with the pastor after the service. Think outside the box: how could you incentivize people to want to give you their personal information?
Also, think about your online audience if you're offering a live stream of the service. How might you get an idea of who's watching online? You could have your chat host encourage people to go to a specific place on your church's website to fill out a digital connection card. Or you could promote dialogue with people in the chat with question prompts (Who's here today online? How many are watching with you? What's in your coffee this morning as you worship?)
As you think through how to gather information about who's visiting your church, it's critical to consider what you're going to do with this data. What's your follow-up procedure? Think about this now rather than the week after Easter when everyone's tired and worn out. Automate the process as much as possible, but make it feel as personal as possible. A welcome text or email simply thanking someone for coming can mean a lot. Maybe the process includes a handwritten card or note later in the week. If you already have a follow-up procedure, take a few moments to review it and make any necessary updates. If your church doesn't have a process, think about ways you can personally thank your guests for celebrating Easter with you and encourage them to return. Is there something specific you could invite them to—beyond "join us again next Sunday!"—that shows more about your church's culture and meets your guests' needs?
Communication isn't just flyers and social media posts. Don't forget that your building also communicates with the people interacting in the space. Spend time with your facility team this week and look for ways to make the space more inviting—including decluttering, patching walls, fresh coats of paint, or deep cleaning. A clean area speaks for itself. Churches tend to attract and collect clutter, and we don't even realize it's there after a while!
Walk around and look with fresh eyes. What will guests see as they move around your building? How will they feel? Your space is communicating something. Be purposeful and make the area communicate something positive and welcoming.
The hybrid option
Most churches have a hybrid option for worship, and that's probably the reality moving forward for a lot of ministries. So don't neglect the online churchgoer. After all, online church makes it much easier for guests to be a part of your church long before entering the doors of your building. Step up your online worship game by purposefully engaging this audience.
If you don't already have it, find a way to introduce a chat option to your online service. Many services include chat features as people watch live. Chatting is a great way to invite people to become active participants in the service rather than passive watchers. A great way to introduce the chat feature is to have a volunteer (or staff member) serve as the online host. Each week, as your team prepares for the gathering, you can create questions, quotes, or statements that go along with the service for your online host to use throughout the service.
Beyond the chat, find ways to engage and interact with your online community each Sunday from the building. Look for opportunities throughout the service to talk directly to this audience from the stage. And as you address the people in the room, remember to include those outside the room. How might your pastor or worship leader find ways to interact with the online audience?
Easter Sunday is right around the corner. But it's not too late to master your communications. Think about what we talked about in this article, and then look at your communication strategy. What could you do over the next couple of weeks to ensure people are informed, excited, and inviting others to be a part of celebrating the most incredible day in the history of the world?