Mark Driscoll: 6 Tips for a Powerful Easter Sermon

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Be bold, take a risk, and do the work of an evangelist like Paul commands.

For most churches, Easter is the biggest Sunday of the year. It is an occasion to celebrate the resurrection victory of Jesus Christ over Satan, sin, death, hell, and the wrath of God while also seeing lost sheep return home and lost people become Christians. For some preachers, though, it is a difficult time because they struggle with the weight and pressure of preaching an Easter sermon in fresh ways year after year. Having now preached on every Easter at Mars Hill Church since 1996, I relate, and I would like to offer the following six preaching tips for Easter in hopes of serving those who serve others by preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

1. Keep your Easter message short.

It is very difficult to get children’s workers on Easter because so many of your key people want to bring family, friends, and coworkers to church and then go enjoy brunch or some special time together. So it is wise to do the Easter service “family style” with no childcare. This gives your kids’ workers a day off, allows you to turn services around more quickly (as Easter requires multiple services for many churches), and also allows the service to be uniquely fun.


For little kids, perhaps some crayons and coloring sheets as gifts would be helpful. Let the parents know in advance that the service will be short, that some noise from the kids is welcome—indeed, the sound of children is a good sign of God’s grace and the church’s future—and that there will be lots of singing and celebration that the kids will enjoy. So keep your Easter sermon short.

2. Keep your Easter message simple.

Easter is not a time to get fancy. The goal of the Easter sermon is not to impress your people with your oratory skills, your Greek syntax expertise, or your clever cultural insight. Easter is a time to boldly, loudly, passionately, gladly, and publicly proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ! So keep your Easter sermon simple. Hearing the good news of Jesus is something your people will delight in if the Holy Spirit resides in them, so make it plain. They know you will tell them Jesus is alive, they are coming to hear it, and it sounds good every time, much like a wife whose husband often tells her he loves her and is devoted to her—she never tires of hearing it and rejoices every time.

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Pastor Mark Driscoll is the Preaching and Speaking pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He is one of the world’s most downloaded and quoted pastors. His audience—fans and critics alike—spans the theological and cultural left and right. Follow his updates at twitter.com/pastorMark.

More from Mark Driscoll or visit Mark at http://www.marshillchurch.org/

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  • Phil

    Loved this article. After preaching easter 19 years in a row, this brought some fresh ideas and inspiration. Thanks Mark! 

  • Abby Chan

    Thanks so much Mark, help me to focus my message on this big event.

  • Fkintu

    Great article, but perhaps the greatest need incumbent upon us all preachers is to demonstrate that Christ indeed rose from the dead and now lives in and with us. People have heard, time and again, that Christ rose and now lives with/in us.  But what is there to demonstrate  this truth to them? One miracle is worth a thousand sermons.

    Don’t allow the sick, the downcast, the bereaved, the blind, the deaf, the dead, the poor … etc … to go back to their homes the same way they came to your church. The gospel must preached not just in words, but also in power and in demonstration of signs and wonders. Let’s not simply preach Christ risen but also demonstrate it. Jesus is with us to back up His words we preach. Finally, Jesus is love incarnate – let’s also show the love, the Christ in us in very practical, special and unusual ways.
    Francis

  • Chukwuma_ememe

    correct !in a nutshell.

  • Samadeyemi

    THANKS FOR THIS WONDERFUL MATERIAL.
     

  • PBK

    Excellent work Pastor Mark.  Thank you for this article.

  • Fabmaclen

    good ol mark. he’s more than a sex expert! :P

  • George

    Thanks, it is very helpful!

  • Jed

    You will not find the Apostle Paul commanding preaching on a totally pagan day right out of the pages of Babylon and pagan Rome..what a farce…Paul would have told all you counterfeit christians to stick to the Bible, and the Gospels, and quit following days which are not Biblical, but an offense to God, because of their pagan roots….There is no command from God to observe the resurrection…it is the blood on the Cross which atones for our sins…Jesus shed His blood on the Passover…not some pagan day dedicated to fertility goddess ishtar or whatever…

    • Patmurmwa

      Resurrection of Jesus is an important phase in a christian faith. We belief Jesus our Lord resurrected the third day after crucification, He is alive. We know the resurrection took place on a particular day, that is a fact. We christian do not observe the day, but Jesus of resurrection is the focus of our hope. If jesus did not resurrect where else would be your Hope. The resurrection excitement of every believer is based on the Resurrected Christ, not the day of coarse. Then, what a bigger physical reminder of the work accomplished than the day?

    • Jack

      If you’re going to tell Christians to stick to the Bible, maybe you should read the Bible more:
      25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

      Jesus’ resurrection, along with his crucifixion, atones for our sins. So I think it’s appropriate that we celebrate it.

  • Hal Seed

    That’s right Randy – Passover. And his resurrection came on the day of Fruitfirsts. These are spring festivals. Yom Kippur is a fall festival that (we believe) will be fulfilled in his second coming, along with Yom T’ruah (the day of Trumpets.)

  • Ebanezer Selvaraj

    Fantastic! Great work, Pastor Mark!

  • V. Rev. Sam Aidoo-Bervell

    I have been blessed. Yes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ brings transformation and must be communicated in a way that new comers will understand and mature Christians move to the next level of the faith. God bless you.  

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