As Christians gather this Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, many churches are pulling out elaborate props and Easter presentations in an effort to grow membership and make converts out of those "Chreasters," their friends, coworkers, family members and neighbors who attend service only on Christmas and Easter. But, according to experts, some congregations are woefully unprepared when it comes to connecting and keeping contact with their biannual guests.
Easter 2012 saw Pastor Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, use a live lion and a lamb on stage during his open-air Sunday service, which drew a bit of criticism from local animal rights activists. This year, Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., plans to hold a record 42 services across his 14 campuses in four states and expects a huge number of converts to come to faith in Jesus Christ.
As an electrified Driscoll explains in a recent video announcement about Easter 2013, "Easter's coming. It's our biggest Sunday of the year! We get so excited for Easter Sunday. It's where we see the most people meet Jesus, the most people attend the church, the most people get baptized. So it is the day we are the most excited." more >>
In an age when a declining commitment to faith seems to be the national news, a tony resort town on the northwest coast of Florida is experiencing an Easter phenomenon that is just the opposite. An increasing number of vacationing and local Christians in the extremely affluent community have been showing up by the hundreds in flip-flops and bonnets for an informal Easter Sunday service just steps away from the beach.
The tradition, which began with a motley crew of vacationing Christians in 2005, evolved into a church in 2006 called Chapel on the Beach, which meets weekly in the Rosemary Beach Town Hall. But the real news is the exponential growth for the Easter resurrection service on the beach, which seems to be spontaneous.
"Most people when they come down on vacation are not thinking about attending Easter services but I truly believe a big majority of people that do come to our community for vacation, especially during this time of year want the Easter services," said Jon Laplante, Rosemary Beach resident and member of Chapel at the Beach for the last five years. "I think [it] is a huge testament to what's going on over here at the beach." more >>
An Alabama elementary school is banning the word Easter from campus activities because the principal said that even secular symbols such as the Easter bunny relate too closely to religion and would not only offend someone but do something even more serious.
"Kids love the bunny and we just try to make sure that we don't say the 'Easter' bunny so that we don't infringe upon the rights of others because people relate the Easter bunny to religion," said Principal Lydia Davenport of Heritage Elementary School in Madison, Ala.
Davenport informed teachers on Monday (March 25) that the school's plans to have an "academic egg hunt" for kindergarten and second grade students would have to be cancelled. Instead, teachers are being asked to use something else besides eggs and to not mention the word "Easter," according to local news reports. more >>
A new Saginaw, Mich., church targeting the under 40 demographic will be hosting a massive drop of 50,000 plastic Easter Eggs filled with candy and miniature toys on Saturday.
Founding Pastor of Life Church Michigan Jonathan Herron told The Christian Post the drop will be hosted on the campus of the Saginaw Valley State University where his new church has been meeting for services since March 17.
"Things are going fantastic. The whole idea was we are a new church and we love children, we love families, so we are throwing a free party because Jesus loved to connect with people at parties," said Herron. more >>
Christians will celebrate Easter this Sunday to observe when Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead. Yet along with the sacred observance will come a more secular American tradition wherein many children will leave out baskets with the playful expectation that the Easter Bunny will come.
According to popular lore, it is the Easter Bunny who provides goodies (usually chocolate candy or ornate eggs) to children who leave their baskets out the night before. Many candy companies have taken advantage of the popular tradition and offer Easter Bunny-themed candy for that part of the year.
However, where did this tradition of a bunny that gave out eggs come from? more >>
While the Easter holiday traditionally has brought the biggest boost in attendance for many U.S. churches, a new survey from LifeWay Research has found that one in five Americans are unsure if they will even find themselves in a pew this year come Resurrection Sunday – and many Christians are among that number.
Easter, which reportedly leads Christmas and Mother's Day in drawing big numbers to church, is arguably the most important Christian holiday, as it marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death by crucifixion, as described in the New Testament of the Bible.
However, LifeWay indicated that among the sample of 1,060 adult Americans surveyed who identified themselves as Christians, only 58 percent of Protestants and 57 percent of Catholics said they planned on attending Easter services. The research group found that 45 percent of nondenominational Christians said the same. more >>