March Madness is over, and the April Avalanche is over. April Avalanche is the swell in attendance on Easter Sunday.
I'm sure many of you saw a few less people in worship on the Sunday after Easter than on Easter. That's to be expected; after all, it is the end of Spring Break.
But, just as people are still talking about Duke's win over Wisconsin (I hear all you Duke Divinity grads cheering and cheering and cheering!), I hope people are still talking about Jesus' victory over the grave. In fact, for me, that is the greatest of all victories, because it happens not only on Easter Sunday but every time we gather our people together (no matter how many are there) to celebrate the Living Lord.
And while I'm thinking about those people who weren't there the Sunday after, let me to encourage you to keep thinking about those people, too. They came for a reason, and it was not to be fodder for our joking about CME Christians (those who only come at Christmas, Mother's Day and Easter). In fact, I don't think we should joke about them at all. They did come for a reason, and we may never know that reason, but I pray you gave them hope, because they needed it. I hope you gave them something to hold on to, because they needed it. I hope you loved on them and showed them how important they are to the Kingdom, because they are.
I'm just thinking, but what if we took those attendance pads and connection cards and bulletins tear-offs, and we divided the names of those who came on Easter among several of our prayer groups in the church and prayed for them daily. Pray that God will bless them and will meet the need in their lives that drew them to your church on Easter. Do this without thought or even hope that it will get them back to church on Sunday. Simply pray for these, our sisters and brothers who are searching for something, who have a need that only a Risen Savior can fill.
I'm just thinking why can't our worship be as powerful on the Sunday after Easter as it is on Easter Sunday? Is our worship for people or for the One who raised Jesus from the dead? If it is the latter, then we can't let down, and we can't do less; we must give our best for a God who conquers death and hell so that we might live a life free from the pangs of hell. So, don't scale back the choir and call it NAPS (National Associate Pastor Sunday). Still let the Associates preach, because they have a message to share, too. But it is not less; sharing such a powerful message always calls for more.
We are Easter people, and every Sunday is Easter Sunday, so let's worship like it. If we do, we might be surprised who comes.