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Archive for Saturday, March 16, 2013

Faith Forum: Do you expect an uptick in attendance at your church on Palm and Easter Sundays this month? Is that good or bad?

March 16, 2013

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Yes, and it's a good thing

Ron Channell, senior pastor, Family Church of Lawrence, 1601 New Hampshire St.:

Yes, we positively expect increased attendance on Palm and Easter Sundays, March 24 and 31, respectively. The reasons are as varied as our community itself. Many will come to celebrate this definitive day of their faith, others to experience “the new kid on the block” since we have relocated to 16th and New Hampshire streets. Still others will attend because life issues have reached the level of “enough!” Those who come are guaranteed to find “someone like them” because our church family is as diverse as our city. In anticipation of more guests, we have added an extra Easter service at 9:15 a.m. in addition to our ongoing 10:30 a.m. service.

Easter is about life. It is about the resurrection of Christ, who died for the sins of the world but rose from the tomb to define himself as Lord and Savior for anyone who calls on his name (Romans 10:13). We pray that everyone will hear of the fullness of love and life that Jesus provides. In fact, He said the reason He came was to give life and give it abundantly (John 10:10). So, Palm Sunday morning, we will be celebrating with a festive neighborhood parade (all are invited to participate). And both Sunday messages will communicate the love, hope and joy that are promised through Christ.

Whether someone is introduced to Jesus for the first time this Easter, or reacquainted after an absence, the good news is the defining event 2000 years ago is what provides us access to Jesus today. We see His resurrection power in our church family each week. Resurrected marriages, resurrection from past anchors, restored relationships, renewed hope and direction. This is what Jesus offers and why we are grateful this Easter may be the Sunday that changes the lives of those who seek Him.

— Send email to Ron Channell at ronchannell@gmail.com.

•••

Yes, and we welcome all

Justin Jenkins, lead pastor, Velocity Church, meets at Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St.:

At Velocity Church we expect to see more and more people check us out as we get close to Easter, especially on Easter Sunday. In fact, we plan our entire Easter worship experience around the idea that people may be checking us out for the first time or coming back to church for the first time in a long time.

And I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all. It’s normal as we reflect on this season and explore what it means to want to check out church. The problem isn’t that people don’t want to attend church; the problem is that when they do go, unfortunately it is often as expected: They feel out of place and the message doesn’t seem relevant to the issues they are facing. However, what we’ve found at Velocity Church is that when people come and experience the Gospel in a way that’s fresh, creative and relevant, they continue to come back because it’s exactly what they need.

It’s because of this that we save our biggest and best ideas for Easter. We typically use a lot of creative elements to communicate the Gospel. For example, last Easter, we showed a 15-minute film with 3D effects on a huge screen. And this year we’ve created an even more impressive Easter service. Additionally, we are having two services at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to accommodate the larger number of guests invited by friends and family.

If you are thinking about checking out a church for the first time, Easter is a great time to do it.

— Send email to Justin Jenkins at info@findvelocity.org.

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