Many churches see their highest attendance on Easter Sunday. The pews are packed with folks who don’t normally come. Many of these infrequent guests are men, dragged to church by their wives and mothers.
How can your church make an impact on these skittish men? Here are some ideas:
Get the practical elements right. Make sure you have friendly men in the parking lot, helping people park their cars and find their way into the church. Put up extra signage so visitors know where to go. Visitors don’t want to feel forced to say anything, sign anything or give anything. Make sure they know the offering is for regular attendees.
Station greeters at each door – one man and one woman. Make sure these greeters are friendly, but not too friendly. Instruct them to smile but not to offer a handshake unless the visitor extends a hand.
Be sure to have enough children’s and nursery workers on duty. Clean, clean, clean the children’s area until it sparkles.
Plan your service with men in mind. Cut the handholding and hugging. Steer clear of sentimentalism. Keep the focus on God, rather than on the congregation. Decorate the chancel area with rugged things instead of flower arrangements. Keep things moving. Use video wisely. And most important, sing songs people know! Easter is not the Sunday to break out the latest tunes – stick to the hymnal.
About the sermon. I’m not a preacher, but I know one who really connects with men. His name is Mark Driscoll, and he’s grown one of America’s largest churches in the capital of secularism, Seattle, WA. His church is packed with young men.
Here’s some advice Driscoll gives to pastors for their Easter messages:
- Keep it short (this from a man who regularly preaches an hour!)
- Keep it simple
- Keep it invitational
- Keep it special
- Keep it personal
- Keep it biblical
Driscoll also says that Easter is the best time to offer baptism. Driscoll says, “We baptize more people on Easter than any other time of the year. Some people sign up to be baptized in advance and come ready to share their salvation story in a few minutes from the stage during the service. Others are invited to repent of sin, trust in Jesus, and be baptized on the spot, and it is not uncommon to see men in suits and women in Easter dresses being baptized in response to the power of the gospel. We do baptisms after the sermon while taking communion and singing loudly together.”
Finally, gather a group of men to pray with you and for you before and during the service. Preparation is important, but it is the presence of God that changes lives.