Every time our family hosts a big event, I try to plan ahead. I have a vision in my head of what everything will look and feel like ahead of time, and I tend to get pretty ambitious. I use these big events as a catalyst for those larger projects we just haven’t gotten around to. Whether it’s painting, cleaning out the garage, or revamping our landscaping, I envision completing those big projects along with the event details in plenty of time to feel cool, calm, and collected by the time of the event.

This vision, however, completely ignores the minutia and unpredictability of the every day. Life doesn’t just stop for a week so I can overhaul my landscaping, and an upcoming event doesn’t mean I couldn’t have water in the basement the day before. The result, usually, is that I’m scrambling at the last minute and sometimes have trouble determining my true priorities as I try to adjust my expectations and forge ahead.

Does this sound anything like your Easter preparations?

Maybe you envisioned repainting the foyer or getting a huge team together to freshen up the church’s landscaping, but as you look at the current circumstances, it’s apparent that those things won’t work out. Perhaps a key volunteer fell ill, or the budget was reallocated to the leaky roof over the children’s nursery. In any case, if you’re feeling frantic and unfocused trying to prepare for an adjusted vision of Easter this weekend, Danny Franks has a list of action items you can complete within the remainder of this week to help you feel confident and prepared for your Easter guests.

1. Pray. It’s never too late to start. Pray for yourself. Pray for your team. Pray for the people that will be coming to your church. Pray that the horror of the cross and the beauty of the tomb will become real to all.

2. Check your website. Are your service times accurate? Is your street address clearly listed? If you enter it into GPS or Google Maps, does it actually take people to your building? Will first timers know how to navigate?

3. Walk your facility. Pick up the trash. Clean the smudges off the window. Take down the Fall Retreat poster. Make the place look like you are expecting company.

4. Make people move. Send an email to all of your regulars. Ask them to park farther away, to scoot front and center, to choose another service. Leave the best of everything for your guests.

5. Review the service. Are songs and the sermon appropriate and engaging? Are you planning to talk to your guests? Are you banning EOAS (Easter-Only Attendee Shaming)?

6. Schedule a next step. What happens after a first timer shows up? Do you have a newcomers event ready to go? If not, put one on the calendar for three weeks from now. (You can work out the details next week.)

7. Get people outside. Review your volunteer lists. Make sure you’re thinking outside in. Get volunteers out in the parking lot and outside of the door.

8. Schedule some phone calls. The Monday after is brutal, there’s no doubt about that. But carve out time now to make some phone calls to your first timers, just to thank them for showing up. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness.

9. Take your own Sabbath. Don’t let Good Friday or the Saturday before go by without unplugging and decompressing. Spend time in the gospels, soaking up what Christ’s sacrifice means for you.

10. Get your game face on. Sunday morning will be here before you know it. I’d encourage you to wake up extra early, spend some time in prayer, and get in there. Encourage volunteers, engage first timers, and exude the kindness of the gospel."

Read the full article here, and have a blessed Easter.