Pastor, how many people do your church members have in their email “Contacts” list? Hundreds? Thousands? How many of the people that your members have on their list are unsaved, unchurched, or just not walking with God?
First, why Easter? Because Easter is one of the two times of the year that unchurched or lost people are more inclined to think about going to church (Christmas is the other one). The question becomes, which church will they attend if they choose to go? The answer to that question needs to be…. your church!
Second, as thorough as your church might be at collecting information and email addresses of guests that attend your church, the church’s list will not even begin to compare to the thousands of unchurched and lost people your own members have in their contact lists. You need a strategy that will engage your church members so that they can invite the people that they know personally to attend Easter services at your church.
Third, you want your church members to send a simple invitation. This means that you need a certain amount of control of the message that they send to the friends, neighbors, family members, and work associates in their contact list. An easy-to-use process means more members will participate. This is going to take a little work from the church leadership, so here’s the plan.
Your church probably has a website. If not, I recommend that you get one asap. You are going to create a link on your church’s website so that your church members can simply go to the church’s site, click the embedded link, and send a pre-written message to invite friends that they select to your church for Easter Sunday. The embedded link will automatically open through their email client (such as Microsoft Outlook). They simply type in their friend’s email address and click “Send” and the invite to attend Easter is sent.
Here is the message on the website that we will use at my home church, First Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma for their Easter email invite:
Invite a friend to our Easter Service.
Click here to email an Easter invite to your friends.
Go ahead – click the link! You know you want to!!
Here is the actual code we use to hyperlink the email into the FBC-Edmond website: (some browsers do not display the entire code, it ends in Edmond%21… you may need to double-click or triple-click below to get the complete code)
Obviously, you probably do not want your folks to invite their friends to First Baptist-Edmond for Easter, so you would need to change the times, church name, and city. But this is done by simply replacing the appropriate letters/numbers in the code. Whoever manages your website (your webmaster) should be able to make the necessary changes.
Take this email outreach one extra step if you want: Record a 60 second video invitation from the pastor and embed it into the email too. When a friend receives an email invite from a member, the link to the pastor’s video link will appear in the body of the mail. When they click the video link, they receive a video invite from the pastor too!
The more church members that we can engage in evangelism and outreach the better. Many churches have a large percentage of members that are not sharing their faith in even the simplest ways. Providing an easy and unthreatening way for them to engage needs to be a priority. For many members, a face-to-face invitation to a friend or neighbor to attend church can be intimidating. Email is a less intimidating invitation.
I know that Easter seems a long way off. But why not have a plan to involve your members to bring lost friends to church on Easter. If your church does not have a website yet, now is the time to involve someone in designing and building your site. You will also need to tweak the above code and have several practice runs to make sure it is working properly. You may also need some time to record and edit a video invitation from the pastor. I would encourage you not to delay. You need time to inform your deacons, church leaders, and small group leaders about the plan.
Imagine having lost people in our churches this Easter that already have a relationship with a church member and will have the opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel if they are invited and attend your church. Let’s not miss this opportunity to share the Gospel with as many people as possible this Easter.