Open Doors and Hearts this Easter
There is a lot of door symbolism throughout Scripture and literature.
Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).”
Jesus followers think the symbolic gesture of opening a door is the new life of following Christ.
But, what if there are times when we need to open an actual door, like the doors to church or the doors to our homes?
With Easter on the way, now is a perfect time to open some literal doors to those who need to meet Jesus.
According to Easy Tithe, “Easter is the #1 day for church attendance. In a survey, 96% of churches reported that they nearly double (if not triple) in crowd size.”
That gives churchgoers a unique opportunity to open literal and symbolic doors of faith this Easter.
Moreover, Easter is a holiday based on God’s hospitality.
As Christianity Today explains, “At the heart of the atonement is divine hospitality, where God invites the undeserving and unexpected to come home with him. The final words of Jesus on the cross, as recorded in the Gospels, provide us with an entry point to understand that mysterious invitation. Each of the seven sayings crucially invites us to share in God’s revolutionary hospitality, not only being welcomed as the strangers and enemies we once were but also welcoming other strangers and enemies in his name and for his sake.”
Why not follow the example set by Jesus and practice hospitality this Easter?
Here are some easy ways you can practice radical hospitality to family, friends, and strangers at church this Easter weekend.
Ask Those You Know
According to Barna Research, “The [research team] also examined whether churchgoing adults perceive Easter weekend to be a good time to invite people to attend worship services with them. While most active churchgoers said they would be open to doing this, a minority said they would be likely to do so. Overall, 31% of active churchgoers said they would definitely invite someone they know who does not usually attend a church to accompany them to a church service on Easter weekend this year.”
We can do better than 31%.
The problem is how many church-going Christians complicate inviting others. Folks, it’s not as hard as you might think!
Since Easter is often the biggest church Sunday of the year, people are more open to receiving invitations.
In other words, you can invite people without fear of them thinking it is weird.
Keep it simple.
If you know someone without a church home, invite them to enjoy an Easter service at your church.
Focus on Anticipating Their Needs Not Impressing Them
Somewhere along the line, our understanding of hospitality has changed.
Nowadays, many people associate hospitality, especially at a holiday like Easter, with an opportunity to decorate, cook elaborate dishes, and put out the fancy place settings.
While there is nothing wrong with these things, that is not the point of hospitality.
The point of hospitality is to make people feel welcome and seen.
You can do that without all the trimmings.
When it comes to Christian hospitality, the goal isn’t to impress others.
Instead, the goal is anticipating others’ needs and meeting them in a loving, welcoming way.
Instead of fretting about how to impress your guests, ask yourself: what will your guests need to feel welcome when visiting your church or home?
Give Up Your Space
Christian hospitality also looks like putting someone else’s needs above your own.
When it comes to church on Easter Sunday, this may look like giving up your literal space.
We know how easy it is to stick to the same church pew week after week, but if you show up on Easter to discover a visiting family in “your pew,” welcome them and find another seat.
Likewise, be willing to park a little farther away, so visitors can get the “good spots” on Easter.
The Apostle Paul put it this way: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3).”
Make Them Feel Comfortable
In case you’ve forgotten what it is like visiting a church for the first time, it’s overwhelming and can be a bit scary.
Therefore, do whatever you can to make your guests feel comfortable.
The little things you do go a long way.
- Give them a heads-up about Easter attire, so they don’t feel over or underdressed.
- Find a way to meet your guests, so they don’t have to enter alone or wander around to find you. Wait in the lobby or ask them to text you when they park.
- Walk them to the nursery or children’s area.
- Introduce them to others.
Note: Even if you do not have personal friends or family attend church on Easter Sunday, you can practice Christian hospitality. There will be visitors who come that may not know anyone. Be on the lookout for people who look unsure of where to go and offer help. And be sure to smile!
Extend the Invitation
Once the Easter service is over, continue to extend the invitation by inviting them to join you after church for lunch or an egg hunt.
This is a wonderful way to practice lifestyle evangelism. Your guests get to see how you live your faith day to day.
At home, you’ll get to pray over your meal, as well as love on your family and theirs.
Continue the Conversation
Finally, don’t just invite people to church on Easter and move on.
Continue the conversation after Easter.
For example, there is a big possibility those who visited church didn’t understand all the church lingo.
Ask them if they have any questions about the service.
In addition, look for opportunities to talk about the pastor’s message.
Welcome their questions and thoughts just as you open the literal door to your home and church.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
– 1 Peter 4:8-10