From our friend Eugene Cho:
No doubt that Resurrection Sunday or Easter is the most significant event or Sunday for the Church. While it wouldn’t be wise to reduce the story of God’s narrative to one event, the death and resurrection of Christ is undoubtedly, crucial. Our faith and the credibility of the gospel hinges upon the historicity and veracity of the resurrection of Christ. For this reason, Easter is often referred to as the Super Bowl for Christian churches.
As expected, a great amount of time, energy, ideas, and resources are invested into this weekend.
And I get it. And I agree with it – in part….
But what makes me feel uncomfortable is the increasing tactics of using door prizes a la iPads, gadgets, TV sets, Xbox 360s, Nintendos, ferris wheels, pony rides, helicopter egg drops, and other stuff to “entice” or “entertain” people to church.
Don’t believe me?
Couple years ago, a church in Texas hosted what I labeled “the momma of all Easter egg hunts” that included more than $1 million in prizes. In fact, it actually included stuff totaling over $4 million dollars in prizes. A particular church were giving away
flat flat-screen televisions, skateboards, Fender guitars, furniture and 15 cars — yes, cars — at its Easter services.
This year, I’ve seen several churches advertise “We’re giving away several iPad 3!!!” to go along with the usual suspects of door prizes, helicopter egg drops, XBox 360s, Nintendos, gift cards, and super guests. Speaking of super guests, I love and respect Tim Tebow but one church in Texas is having him preach their Easter sermon…and anticipating 30,000 people to come hear Tebow.Wow. That’s alot of people so I guess that worked…
Am I just jealous since we’re not giving any doors prizes and thus, I’m not winning anything? No, that’s not it…I don’t think. And it’s not just random criticism. I really hope that readers don’t interpret this post as cynicism or as angry criticism:…
And that’s really the heart of what I’m trying to say and I’m absolutely positive that all other pastors and church leaders feel this way.
But we need to do more than feel this way. We need to believe this and practice this. The events surround Crucifixion Friday and Resurrection Sunday are haunting and amazing. While many clamored for signs (then and now), I wonder if we’re giving in to our personal desire and the desires of a culture of entitlement that clamor for prizes and stuff.
Easter is beautiful and it’s significant.
Let’s love people. Let’s welcome people. Let’s practice deep hospitality. Let’s pray for our guest and visitors and treat them in the same way we treat those who come to our churches every single week.
And let’s communicate to them – as best as we can by God’s grace – the unrelenting love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The good news is truly Good News:
God loves us and gave us the His Son, Christ, so that we might not languish in separation but be reconciled with our God – our Father. Not only are we reconciled but God now invites us to be agents of Reconciliation in a world that is in need of mending, healing, and reconciliation.
That’s good news.