For most churches Easter is the BIG DAY. We celebrate the risen Lord. Not only do we prepare for a standout worship service, we send postcard invitations to every potential first time visitor we can. Most of our regulars will be there, as well as our intermittent attenders and some first time visitors as well. Everyone in their Easter best.
After it’s all over the
church staff takes a much needed and well-earned rest. Things slow down. The
excitement and stirrings of faith begin to fade in the hearts of first-time
visitors and occasional attenders.
Weariness tends to follow
surges of adrenaline but this is the time to increase our efforts. The church
year begins now.
Jesus’ first followers had
experienced the emotional devastation of his crucifixion followed by the
elation of the resurrection. At one point they gathered around him and asked
him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts
This is a good question.
In their understanding, this was the whole point. Jesus’ next words must have
been a shock. He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates
the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the
Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all
Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8 NIV)
Before they could
respond, he was gone but they knew what to do. He had previously given them
their marching orders. Words we commonly know as the Great Commission: “All authority in
heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of
all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And
surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
Furthermore, he promised
them Holy Spirit power. This is the after-Easter message for all who are
followers of Jesus.
The Monday after Easter is the time to follow up with folks who filled out visitor cards. It is the time to encourage attenders to join Bible study groups. It is the time to carry out the discipleship command we have been given. We must strike while the iron is hot.