Do You Believe in Rolling Stones?
The cross, colorful eggs, white lilies and even chocolate bunny rabbits — several images have come to be associated with the Easter holiday. But for many, Christ’s empty tomb comes to mind, with the stone seal lying discarded, off to one side — the same stone, experts tell us, would have been immense, disc shaped, and rolled in front of the opening on a downward slope, so that while the tomb was relatively easy to seal, it would have taken the strength of many men, pushing against gravity, to remove it.
In his Bible commentary, Matthew Henry compared this stone to the weight of our sin, crushing Christ on the cross and holding Him to the penalty of death for three days in the grave. Until, as Scripture says, the earth literally moved, the ground shook, and an angel came from heaven to roll the stone back and expose the miracle of the Resurrection — Jesus’ physical body raised from the dead and absent from the grave.
It was, of course, no coincidence that the two Marys were there to witness the event at the tomb and later give testimony of the vacancy within, but why? Was it not just as miraculous for the women to see Christ alive in the flesh after His death? Why bother with the stone if He was already gone? What was so important about seeing the empty tomb?
In a word, the answer may be proof — tangible evidence for the people of Jerusalem for decades to come. Physical evidence, if you will, demanding a verdict.
Seekers today don’t have the luxury of exploring Christ’s actual tomb and examining its inner walls for traces of the Truth. They are, in a sense, standing outside the vacant sepulcher, no knowledge of the miracle within, and a boulder of intimidation, doubts and discomfort standing between them and Truth.
We can glory in our own celebration of the Resurrection this Easter season, or we can take a look around our neighborhoods, schools and businesses to see who’s waiting outside the crypt for a glimpse of the miracle.
This year, push those boulders of fear and uncertainty aside. This spring, plan an outreach event that will leave your community eternally altered. This Easter Sunday, bring the unchurched face-to-face with the empty tomb, where they might just find the open door of heaven.
40 Easter Outreach Ideas
We’ve put together our biggest list of outreach ideas ever, and our hope is that this Easter Passion Week will be like none your church has ever seen.
While many of these ideas are effective platforms for sharing the Gospel, some are merely intended to familiarize unbelievers with your church and afford your worshippers the opportunity to tender an invitation to Easter Sunday services.
1. Palm Party
Hold your children’s Easter outreach event on Palm Sunday and reenact the Triumphal Entry — complete with live donkey and palm branches — for a captive audience. Include egg decorating, games and an Easter video or story for a celebration children are sure to remember.
2. Messianic “Haggadah”
Encourage a churchwide celebration of the Seder or Messianic Haggadah in individual homes on Passover, which officially begins the previous day at sundown. Encourage host families to invite adventurous unchurched friends to share this special feast with them.
3. DaVinci’s “Last Supper” Reenactment
Maundy Thursday (also called Holy Thursday) is traditionally remembered as the night Christ ate the Last Supper with His disciples. Attract art appreciators with an Easter drama of the scene, using Scripture as a script and DaVinci’s painting for costume and backdrop inspiration.
4. Maundy Prayer
What better time to pray over your Easter outreach than the night of Holy Week associated with Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane? Open your sanctuary, encouraging church members to come when they can and pray for your community.
5. Artists at the Foot of the Cross
Create an atmosphere of experiential worship for postmodern seekers using both classical and contemporary art (projected on a screen), poetry (recited or projected on screen) and music to offer a glimpse of the crucifixion through the eyes of famous and not-so-famous artists in a candlelight service.
6. Artists at the Foot of the Cross Gallery
Turn a gym or multipurpose room into a gallery of crucifixion art, poetry and music created by church members of all ages, as well as the unchurched in your community. (Be careful to note that the church reserves the right not to display gallery entries it deems inappropriate.)
7. "The Thorn"
"The Thorn" is a brand new way to experience Easter in your church. It features exclusive, licensed videos from The Thorn Live Stage Production. Learn more at http://www.outreach.com/promo/the-thorn-products.aspx.
8. Jesus for Children
Don’t overlook childcare while planning a Good Friday service — especially if you’ll be planning a trip to see “The Passion of the Christ.” To offer more than just babysitting, consider showing a depiction of the crucifixion story appropriate for children.
9. Spring Tea
A traditional English tea party — especially one in a colorful garden — offers a brief escape for today’s busy women who would never, of their own volition, take the time to sit outside and enjoy a cup of tea and a crumpet. Throw in a speaker (with a topic general enough to appeal to a broad spectrum) or even live music, and you’ll have an event church women will feel confident inviting female friends to enjoy.
10. Easter “Bonnet” Benefit
Organize a hat fashion show during a women’s brunch at the church, selling tickets in advance, with proceeds going to a local charity. Contact boutiques, stores and antique malls in your area for the hat (older women in your congregation may have wonderful vintage hats to show off), and use women — young and old — in the church and community to model them.
Driscoll: As Christians, we don't worship our work. Our work is an opportunity to worship Jesus.
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