If feel very privileged with the position I have. Weddings, baby dedications, funerals, and the like are all phenomenal opportunities to be a part in precious family moments. I refuse to take them for granted. They are not inconveniences to me. These moments are privileges and every pastor must see them that way.
My senior adults are very precious to me (I know they’re not “mine” but as a pastor, I love them dearly). Recently, one has been placed in hospice care. In my talks with him, he knows that he’ll be seeing Jesus soon. In my recent visit with him, he apologized to me for not being involved as much as he’d like as well as for not being able to be with Kfirst at Easter.
I opened up my Bible (aka opening up my Bible app on my phone) and read him one of my favorite all-time scriptures out of, perhaps my favorite book of the bible…
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
(What I can only describe it as a “Holy Spirit moment”) I looked at this amazing man and said, “Are you still alive?” He looked puzzled and said, “yes.”
“Then you’re not allowed to be a spectator.”
I went on to explain that, according to Hebrews 12, the only condition that allows us to be spectators in the Kingdom is to have passed from this life into eternity. And until then, WE ALL are to be participators.
Honestly, I went into preacher mode. “I know you can’t be there on Good Friday and Easter, but I’m expecting you to still participate. I need prayer warriors interceding for both services. I need someone to pray over people who are hurting. I’m not letting you be a spectator.”
The smile on his face and his reply was absolutely priceless. “That I can do. You better believe I’m going to do that.”
I’m afraid too many churches are filled with Peeps. Spectators to the Kingdom. Rows and rows of blank faces, staring eyes, and little involvement. I can’t put the blame on any one person. We’ve got the diva pastors that think Kingdom of God is about them. They foster the “Kingdom of Peeps” by doing EVERYTHING and not allowing anyone else to participate. At the same time, I don’t give a free pass to congregants who feed the “Kingdom of Peeps” by being consumers instead of contributors. They’ll complain about what isn’t happening and, yet take zero responsibility other than being the pony express for complaints and gossip.
If you have breath in your body, then it’s time to man-up (or woman-up for that matter). Your decision to follow Jesus isn’t about a “joy-ride” of zero connection and responsibility. We are a community of Christ and we are to operate as such and Easter is a great opportunity to start to overthrow the “Kingdom of Peeps.” It’s time to get your butt off the sidelines and engage in the Kingdom of God.
4 Ways to Everyone Can Engage in Easter:
1. Pray. Prayer was never meant to be a parachute to be used as a last resort. I’ve heard it described as the “easiest thing we never do.” You might not be a preacher, teacher, usher, greeter, kids worker, musician, or whatever roles/opportunities are available at your church, but you can pray. Prayer isn’t dependent upon age or location nor should prayer be ONLY ABOUT YOUR CHURCH. See a greater Kingdom than your own church body. Prayer over everything from the service to the follow-up. Pray over the local pastors. Google search the churches in your area and pray over the congregations. Pray. Prayer more. Then pray again. It’s the best and easiest way for everyone to engage. (Side note: Send those pastors encouraging notes. They need encouragement too).
2. Invite. I’ve heard all sorts of stats about Easter invites. It seems that 80% of invitations for Easter are accepted. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the best time to engage people with simple invitations. People actually are looking for opportunities to worship somewhere. Instead of them spinning the “wheel of churches” (aka Google search), give them an invite and offer to sit with them. In fact, offer to get them coffee before service or even go out to lunch afterward. Invites don’t really cost you much if anything but the investment can have tremendous yield.
3. Serve. It’s been a rare occasion where I have heard of a church with too many volunteers. Talk to your pastors and/or church leaders about serving on Easter (and hopefully beyond). Your church needs greeters and ushers. Your pastor needs intercessors. The children’s ministry needs kids workers. Does your church have parking lot greeters? Then be a visionary and offer to be the first to volunteer. Then go recruit some others to help. Stop waiting on the sideline like you’re back in elementary school at recess hoping to be picked to be on the team. Step up. Serve.
4. Follow-up. Plan on coffee with your friends you invited. Sometime over the next week, engage in conversation (pressure free) about their Easter experience. The goal isn’t to gather complaints so that you can convey them to the pastoral staff (if you feel that’s your role at the church…STOP…you’re fired from that position…find a life/joy giving role). Your friends/family may have or may have not made a decision to follow Jesus on Easter. Regardless, keep the conversation going. If he/she chose Jesus, then disciple them. Challenge them to be water baptized. If he/she is still undecided about what to do with Jesus, then don’t write them off. Continue to develop relationship and look for opportunities to show the love of Jesus to them!
Easter isn’t for you to have a service to spectate. The cross and resurrection engages us to engage the world.
Do you still have breath? Then you have responsibility to engage.
Thanks for letting me ramble…go eat a peep.