Another year has gone by and it’s time to plan your Easter sermon. You and your staff will be up to your ears in projects, timelines, and new guest tracking strategies—and if you’re feeling like it all just crept up, you’re not alone.

Bottom line, Easter is here and you need to begin to brainstorm how to move your ideas into implementation—with the resources you have available to you. Getting ahead so you can break easy going into Holy Week is possible… even if in years past you’ve just made a mad dash for the finish line.

This year will be different if you choose to use what we call the “Easter Mega Sermon” planning strategy. This strategy doesn’t rely on a huge budget, massive teams, or large scale productions.

As a matter of fact, this strategy is 100% about utilizing the tools you already have at your disposal to tackle Easter.

The main concept of the Easter Mega Sermon is that your entire service is informed and inspired by your Easter sermon. This is why we call it the Easter Mega Sermon strategy. Your entire service is based on the sermon.

Instead of creating an Easter service plan and slotting in the Easter sermon as its own, isolated element, the Easter Mega Sermon approach starts with the morning message and then builds out the bookends of the service according to this central message.

Pastors and ministry leaders often bake in the idea of ‘stress management’ to their schedules in the weeks leading up to Easter… this Easter Mega Sermon strategy provides a solid starting point for your celebration where each element can be built upon the next — rather than planning multiple isolated elements.

In this article, we will cover the steps and strategies necessary to eliminate Easter stress and setup your Easter sermon series or Easter message as well as your entire Easter service for success using the Easter Mega Sermon strategy!

Can Easter Planning Really Be Different This Year?

This year will be different. Instead of shooting from the hip like in years past, you will walk into planning with a framework that will immediately make a difference in the execution of everything from Palm Sunday to your final Easter celebration.

The Easter Mega Sermon approach is all about creating a well thought-out plan to identify, implement, and execute your best ideas.

It also gives space for you and your team to think creatively and rely heavily on what your church does best. This approach is not just possible with the Easter Mega Sermon strategy, it is necessary.

Easter is about preaching the resurrection story and providing a message from the pulpit that God can use to reach the hearts of people with the forgiveness and hope of Jesus.

Going into Easter with a feeling of panic, stress, and chaos will impact your preaching so we’re going to layout exactly what you can do to use your best Easter sermon ideas to create a successful Easter celebration.

By the time we’re done, you will be an Easter Mega Sermon strategy expert and well on your way to your best Easter yet!

The Early Planning Process for Your Easter Sermon

Some pastors are great at planning ahead and some cringe at the thought of planning. Chances are, you know both.

A pastor’s approach to planning a sermon series or big event tends to mirror that leader’s approach to grocery lists: some will never leave home without the list, plotting out the best route through the aisles, and some will just fill up the shopping cart as they go along, allowing ‘inspiration’ to take over the decision-making process.

If you’re looking to stock up on good ideas like you stock up a pantry, the ‘inspiration’ approach works great! Forget an item… fine. Need to spend a few more dollars, no problem. You’re flying solo and can adjust easily.

When tackling a project like Easter and when creating an Easter sermon that is fresh, timely, and true to the story, success requires thoughtful planning and strategic execution.

Fortunately, the Easter Mega Sermon Strategy is the perfect solution for the planner and the dreamer.

Quote: Creating an Easter sermon that is fresh, timely, and true to the story requires thoughtful planning and strategic execution.

The Importance of Organized Planning (Even If You Aren’t an Organized Planner by Nature)

The truth is, your people — staff, volunteers, deacons, and elders — are looking for a plan they can get behind. They are desperate to support you and the vision for this year’s Easter service.

All they need to know is the big idea and how they can help you get there.

A photo of volunteers serving in the lobby on Easter Sunday.
Having a good Easter plan empowers your volunteers to go the extra mile to achieve the church’s goals for Easter and your goals for your Easter sermon.

Your people need a plan. They want to know the strategy and you are the one in position to deliver exactly what they need.

So that’s what you’re going to provide for them. At the top your Easter Mega Sermon Strategy document, you’re going to type:

  • Our Plan for Easter and How We Will Get There

If you aren’t an organized planner by nature, don’t worry! We will help you fill out your strategy document, step-by-step, and share additional tools and resources along the way—all so you can cover your bases and make sure you communicate the complete idea to your team.

Here is what you can count on accomplishing when you utilize a strong Easter plan:

  • Meet the church-wide goals you set for this year’s celebration.
  • Meet the needs of the community—whether in your Easter sermon, celebration, pre-service, or post-service events.
  • Deliver hope and truth through timely illustrations, with a fresh perspective for the surrounding culture.
  • Inform your Easter volunteers and support staff about how to build on your Easter sermon and Easter celebration for greater impact beyond the service.

As a matter of fact, these are the first four items we want to add to your Easter Mega Sermon Strategy document.

Purpose table of the Easter Mega Sermon Strategy outline.
Beginning your Easter planning with the end in mind allows you to reverse engineer every element of the sermon and service to ensure it accomplishes the end desire.

Planning for any service or event is not about manufacturing a feeling or emotion. On the contrary, we are we are prayerfully looking to be used by God to create an environment for his Word to be spread. There will be individuals stepping on your property for the first time, individuals who are seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus, and individuals who are just looking for a connection.

Identifying the spiritual needs of the community, the hope for impact beyond the Easter service, and relevant cultural illustrations to communicate the message will help you reach your goals for Easter!

So now that we have our four planning boxes, let’s dig into tactics of the Easter Mega Sermon Strategy to make this a reality at your church.

The Three Essential Phases of Easter Planning

On the path to reaching your Easter goals, it is vital that your Easter planning has organization and structure. The entire planning process breaks down into three very simple pieces.

  • Brainstorming
  • Collaboration
  • Timeline: Creation and Implementation

While you will want to create a comprehensive plan, just spending time brainstorming, collaborating, and creating a timeline for your Easter service will give greater connection between you and your team. As a result, you will feel less alone and more united as a staff entering into Holy Week.

Let’s explore these three pieces of the Easter Mega Sermon Strategy in greater detail.

Brainstorming for Your Easter Celebration

Brainstorming for Easter can be one of the easiest steps in the entire process.

You can start the process solo or include one or two trusted men or women of God who can be objective in a brainstorming environment while being vocal when it comes to creativity.

As the one carrying the mantle of spiritual leader for your church, your people are trusting you to spend time with God, seek His will, and reflect on what He reveals. They need you to translate truths learned from your walk and truths discovered from scripture into an overall, big picture vision for what Easter should become at your church.

The brainstorming process allows you to take inventory of all that God has placed on your heart and begin to make sense of it as it relates to celebrating Easter.

You Deserve A Day to Focus On Easter Brainstorming

Whether you choose to brainstorm by yourself or with a small team, schedule a day to focus almost 100% on Easter brainstorming. Ensure you won’t have any major interruptions. After starting your time with prayer, set aside a good chunk of time to write out (or type out) what you’re envisioning (unfiltered) for your Easter service this year. If you’re doing this exercise with a group, a white board is a great tool so everyone can perform the activity together.

In other strategies, you may consider the Easter sermon alongside the other elements of the Easter service. Using the Easter Mega Sermon Strategy, you will actually filter all other elements through the Easter sermon itself. If you come up with ideas for other elements, you can write them down, but don’t get too far away from the central messaging or big idea of the Easter sermon.

This is the time to avoid saying ‘no’ to any ideas so as to not stifle creativity. Begin documenting all the thoughts, ideas, and inspirations you have and be as specific or as general as you want.

As you move on from crafting your unfiltered vision for Easter, you’ll begin to move into more ideas that you’ve had for the experience as a whole.

If you would like a little prompting, here are a few questions we suggest you begin to answer to get started:

  • What is the overall tone I want to set for this season of Easter?
  • Is this going to be a kid-friendly or family-friendly feel?
  • Do I want to include a Good Friday element at the beginning of the service?
  • What would a ‘celebration from the start’ service look like for us?
  • Are there any media or special elements that I would like to consider including?
  • What have I seen or heard that worked at other churches that could work here?
  • What type of guest experience do we want to create from arrival to departure?
  • Is there a main call to action we want people to leave with to act upon for the following week?

As you sit with each of these questions, you can begin to incorporate the following:

  • Write down any key words that are coming to mind as you think through questions like those above.
  • Begin to write down how you want people to feel as they enter the room.
  • Write how you want them to feel as they leave the service.
  • Start writing takeaways you can leave people with.
  • As key scriptures come to mind, begin making a list of each one.

List Easter stories or Easter illustration ideas that come to mind.

If you feel like the brainstorming is going all over the place, good! Restricting your thinking and shooting down ideas before they have had a chance to grow is an adversary to successful Easter planning.

This is the time to give every idea an opportunity to live. At the end of brainstorming and near the beginning of collaboration is when you’ll begin to eliminate and refine, getting closer to a final plan that others can buy into and put into action.

The Easter Mega Sermon Strategy is dependent upon starting with as many ideas as possible.

Create A Easter Sermon Big Idea Your Team Can See

As your output during brainstorming grows, you will most likely begin to focus on a certain tone, key scripture, or even visual image. Naturally, you will be drawn to a specific overall theme for your sermon. And that’s exactly where you want to be! Because your entire Easter celebration will be based on your sermon, clarity around the sermon means clarity around every other element.

Certain words will start rising to the surface and as you begin connecting more deeply with these words, you will start to mentally visualize designs that articulate the theme beginning to come together.

Capture the words in your Easter Mega Sermon Outline and even start to add some description to the words to form potential big ideas.

Here are several examples of how this might develop for you. A keyword or key phrase that develops into potential big idea themes:

  • Death to life
    • A message of redemption and newness of life in Christ.
  • Hope
    • A message on the resurrection, focusing on Christ’s return.
  • Personal God
    • A message focused on the significance of the veil being torn at the moment of Christ’s death.
  • Purpose
    • A message focused on the reinstatement of Peter to ministry and that we can’t get in God’s way when it comes to His plan for us.

No matter which big idea theme you choose, imagery can help you further set expectations for the message. A single big idea can be communicated in a variety of different ways and imagery can further define a precise direction.

Here are some examples of imagery that could support a similar message but take two completely different angles.

Death to Life Theme – 3 Days

3 Days Easter Sermon Series Graphic from Wake Church on Conroe, Texas.

From Wake Church in Conroe, Texas, 3 Days establishes a dark tone with a subtle, underlying tone of hope, through both the title and the texture and color burst surrounding them.

This is a good example of the dark to light message with hope as the center theme.

Death to Life Theme – Back From the Dead

Back from the Dead Easter Sermon Series Graphic from Celebration Church in Austin, Texas.

From Celebration Church in Austin, Texas, Back from the Dead is very hope-filled. The color choice supports the bright and joyous celebratory tone you may want to focus on for your Easter Message with an example of a title that’s also hope-centered.

From Ministry Pass, Death to Life: The Grave Defeated plays on the same theme as the two Easter sermon series above, but takes a dark, graveyard approach. Rather than hopeful elements, we see distressed design with a strong proclamation.

Hopefully, it’s clear that the more context you can wrap around your Easter sermon big idea the better your team will be able to support you. One theme can be communicated in such a variety of ways, you want to be certain from the start there isn’t any confusion over the direction you want your church to pursue.

The ability to take brainstorming ideas, keywords, big ideas, and overall Easter angle into a collaborative environment will set the tone for all subsequent planning, setting clear expectations and giving your team a baseline to reference as you make final decisions on the sermon and service elements.

Having your thoughts clearly articulated in the Easter sermon planning outline, including example images, will be HUGE for helping your team see exactly what it is you’re seeing.

Don’t attempt to draw the imagery yourself—seek out example images from other sources. The best place to go for sample imagery is Church Sermon Series Ideas. You can find hundreds (if not thousands) of sermon series graphics from churches across the US.

Creating A Guest Experience Consistent with Your Easter Big Idea

After taking time to identify several overall big idea themes for Easter Sunday, you will want to begin to consider the guest experience. The Easter Mega Sermon Strategy will help you build a guest experience that feeds off the central message for the morning.

Here is the question you should start with: What is our top goal for guest engagement and how can we tie all Easter elements back to the central message to accomplish that goal?

Identifying that goal and creating a plan to tie all elements together around your sermon is why it helps to have a team around you. Doing initial brainstorming solo is fine, but if you want your post-Easter strategy to succeed, you will want to bring in others to work together on identifying the goal for guests on Easter.

As possible goals come to mind, begin to write them down and remember, now is not the time to be critical, but creative. You will have plenty of time to cross off ideas in the next phase of planning—for now, get everything out of your head so you can react to it.

If you are brainstorming with a small group, collectively, create a clear goal that your church is best equipped to accomplish. Again, if you’re working solo, hold off on making a final decision, use the list to bring in a few key leaders and weigh their feedback before you make a commitment.

Identifying and communicating a single, central goal for Easter guests creates a clarity of purpose and allows your staff to latch on to the goal. This clarity of purpose empowers those responsible for making Easter happen—in whichever area of ministry they are responsible for.

Quote: The number of visitors who return the week after Easter is directly impacted by the guest experience you design for Easter Sunday.
Connect everything you do for your Easter Sunday guest experience to your desire for guests to return the following week.

Your Easter Service Ideas Start Gaining Momentum

Embracing the brainstorming process gets the heart and mind moving, enabling you to come up with great ideas for Easter sermon illustrations, Easter sermon titles, Easter service ideas, sunrise service ideas, and even Easter message outlines to work from.

This is exactly where you want to be prior to moving to completing your brainstorming.

After allowing all the ideas to live on paper, whether you’ve completed the steps outlined above solo or with a team, now is the time to work with others to hash out your ideas. You want to bring more voices into the conversation surrounding your Easter Mega Sermon Strategy.

You can start the discussion by sharing what you like and dislike from your current strategy. Ask for feedback from those who are part of the discussion, and allow the group collectively to further develop the right ideas for your church.

As soon as the group is ready, decide and commit to a single idea. To you, it may seem like a small and insignificant step in the process, but for those you’re counting on to implement the vision for Easter, it will be fuel.

Once this single idea is decided upon, describe the theme, the tone or angle, and the overall experience in words.

A screenshot of an Easter planning outline in mind mapping format.
The more details you can provide your team to collaborate on, the closer the conversation will stay to your desired big idea theme, and the better they will be able to support the vision.

Going through this process with others will help you create a plan that communicates the big idea from multiple angles and from different perspectives, increasing the chances that your message will be understood and well-received by a diverse audience.

God has gifted each person on your staff and in your church differently and considering these differences has a way of refining leaders.

Your Easter Mega Sermon Strategy is gaining momentum and this is where you get to move into the next phase of planning: Collaboration.

Collaborate to Create a Fantastic Easter Sunday Plan

As you complete the brainstorming phase, filling in your Easter planning template, you will find that the greater clarity surrounding your overall big idea theme will make for a better experience during the collaboration stage.

To ensure the integrity of your Easter Mega Sermon Strategy and maintain the focus you’ve created thus far, you need to go into the collaboration stage with a clear set of ground rules. Without setting ground rules things can go off-message very quickly.

Setting the Ground Rules for Easter Planning and Collaboration

It is natural to feel a bit of anxiety when bringing your “still-in-the-works Easter plan” to a collaboration table.

Why?

Often the anxiety is rooted in one or two key areas:

  • A self-awareness that you are presenting an unfinished creative idea for discussion opening the idea up for criticism and critique.
  • A concern that the idea will be reshaped and reimagined by committee, losing its original tone or angle.

When you put a still-in-the-works plan with a solid vision and established framework in front of a group requires trust and communication.

The group you assemble to collaborate on your Easter Mega Sermon Strategy must be made up of individuals who you trust and who have the best interest of the church in mind.

This assembled group needs you to communicate clearly what is on the table for discussion and what has already been decided.

It may surprise you, but your group is actually looking for foul poles so they know what is fair territory and what territory is foul. They want to serve you, honor you, and most of all, honor the collaboration.

Saying this in another way, tell your group what has already been decided. Use your Easter Mega Sermon Strategy outline to share your vision and how you developed it. It’s helpful for a team to jump on board when they understand not just where you’re going as a leader, but the why behind it.

When trust and communication are present, you are setting the stage to create an outstanding Easter plan that is church-focused and true to the original big idea.

Quote — When you have trust in your team and actively communicate your expectations, you have set the stage for an outstanding Easter celebration that is church-focused and true to your original big idea.
Trust in your staff is essential. The more trust you place in your staff, the more they will feel empowered to work on your behalf. The opposite is also true.

Getting Your Easter Planning Collaboration Session Started

After establishing the ground rules, you’re ready for a vibrant, challenging, and beneficial discussion with your group.

Some questions to begin the discussion include:

  • How have we done Easter in the past?
  • How do our guests typically respond during their visit?
  • What have we done well in Easters past?
  • What have been the “big wins” over the years?
  • What are some things that didn’t go as planned on Easters past?
  • What seems to work well during large events like Easter, Mother’s Day, and Christmas?
  • Have we done anything or asked things of our people in the past that were confusing?
  • Are we constantly dealing with pain points that should be addressed this year?
  • Is this a year to change or innovate?
  • Are there positive behaviors we want to repeat this year?

Another important area for discussion is your church’s approach to the entire Easter season:

  • Lent
  • Palm Sunday
  • Holy Week
  • Maundy Thursday
  • Good Friday
  • Sunrise
  • Easter Sunday

If your church traditionally pays special attention to one, several, or all of the significant days connected with Easter, you will want to address those events individually and decide what level of connectivity you would like to have for your overall Easter experience. As you make decisions, ensure that you remain committed to supporting the central Easter message through all of your plans.

The final area of discussion is answering the question, “How are we going to treat the weeks leading up to Easter to prep your congregation?” The way you treat the two, three, even four weeks prior to Easter will affect how you communicate the overall story.

The Easter Mega Sermon Strategy is not about creating a great sermon—it is about connecting all elements back to a central big idea. Creating anticipation for a key moment and then delivering an experience that carries impact and is memorable. The greater the build up, the greater potential there is for a significant spiritual encounter.

While you don’t want to expend too much energy on an idea that is not realistic, be willing to dream. Your group should be diverse which will produce diverse ideas and diverse perspectives. As you dream about different ways of pulling off a particular aspect of your plan, let the group contribute to creating a plan that will actually work. If something feels like it may be too big for this Easter, let the group work on a version that would be achievable.

Creating Your Easter Sermon and Celebration Timeline

Brainstorming sessions and collaboration meetings birth new and exciting ideas. The best way to get every last ounce of mileage from these ideas is to create a solid timeline with a logical order, clear deliverables, and firm due dates.

Without a solid timeline, your ideas go nowhere.

Regardless of how you feel about timelines, there are plenty of tools and resources available to help you create a timeline with reasonable expectations for yourself and your team. Don’t feel like you need to tackle the timeline by yourself. Bring in a staff member or volunteer who does a good job of managing details to help you put together your Easter timeline. If you have access to someone who is gifted in the art of project management, even better!

We are all made with unique gifts and abilities and are better when we can hone in on what we’re good at and utilize the gifts of others when needed.

Right now all you have is a list of good ideas and nice thoughts. The timeline is going to literally bring your ideas to life. A good timeline will consist of three important items:

  • Clear task
  • Responsible person
  • Due date

The Easter Mega Sermon Strategy is dependent upon execution and clear tasks assigned to the right person with a firm due date, which will ensure that you’re not left scrambling for sermon elements or celebration ideas the week of Easter.

Creating a Clear Task

Clarity is a buzzword in ministry. So to make sure you’re equipped to lead your team, here is precisely what a clear task looks like using an Easter road banner with sermon artwork as an example.

Bad Example

  • Project
    • Easter Road Banner
  • Person
    • Mary Smith
  • Deadline
    • April 6th

Good Example

  • Project
    • Easter Road banner
  • Details
    • We want a 4’ x 10’ vinyl banner with our Easter sermon artwork, service times, and website URL listed
  • Person
    • Mary Smith
  • Deadline
    • Banner needs to be installed and displayed by April 6th.

In the good example above the responsible person is provided details needed to execute the task, rather than needing to come back to you to get further information. Stating specifics ensures that there is no miscommunication and no one is left assuming what should be done.

Something else you’ll notice in a clear task is a deadline with a bit of elaboration. With a due date of April 6th, there is room for interpretation. Is the banner to be ordered by April 6th? Is it to be designed by April 6th? Do you actually want it installed by April 6th?

Defining the specifics of the due date, in this case that it is to be hung by the 6th, there are other mini deadlines that will be necessary to meet in order to deliver by the 6th.

Every task has a varying degree of additional work required to deliver. As you create your timeline, set your team up with as much detail as possible and then work together to fill in any final gaps so no one is left guessing.

Keeping the Sermon Message Front and Center

One of the most unique traits of using the Easter Mega Sermon Strategy is that you can attach each task to the larger mission for Easter. Staying with the banner example, if you decided to lean into death to life as your Easter sermon theme, you can include additional instruction in your task details such as:

  • We want a 4’ x 10’ vinyl banner with our Easter sermon artwork, service times, and website URL listed. Our central theme is death to life and we want this banner to subtly communicate that theme — people will drive by it day after day and we want them to see it as an invitation to life even as they drive home from parts of their day that just feel routine or dead.

Whoever is responsible for each task will feel a greater connection to your strategy and central messaging when they see the precise role it plays in the big picture.

Tools to Create A Successful Easter Timeline

One of the best ways to create a strong timeline and deliver every item on your Easter Mega Sermon Strategy to-do list is to use a project management tool your whole team can connect with.

To say there are several online project management tools available would be an understatement. There are, literally, countless tools and resources available for individuals or teams to use. If you are already using software you love, stick with it. If you’re looking for suggestions, here are a few you may be interested in using for your Easter Mega Sermon Strategy.

Asana

Screenshot of Asana Project Management Software

Asana is one of the most popular choices for project management software — mostly because it offers a very generous free plan for individuals and teams. It is highly customizable and fairly easy to learn.

Check out Asana

Monday

Screenshot for Monday Project Management Software

Monday is an intriguing option and, if you watched much YouTube in 2018 and 2019 you would have seen a large amount of advertisements running ahead of different videos.

Monday does not offer a free option, but that shouldn’t deter you from exploring it as an option. When you count the cost of wasted time, missed deadlines, forgotten last minute details, and missed opportunities, $600 a year doesn’t sound so bad. The biggest expense for most churches is staffing, and investing in getting more production in your staff is one of the best ways to do more with less.

Check out Monday

Trello

Screenshot for Trello Project Management Software

Trello is often mentioned in the same breath as Asana as a good place to start for project management. You can easily create an Easter board in Trello’s free plan and then add individual cards for every project that needs to be done leading up to Easter Sunday. It’s easy to use, minimalistic, and can be fun moving cards from one side to the other.

Check out Trello

Each of the options above are great places to organize your Easter Mega Sermon Strategy and move away from documents and spreadsheets that always seem to fall short.

Make sure whatever you choose, even if it is to stick with a spreadsheet, that everyone on your team can access the strategy timeline document in real time and stay on the same page.

Easter Planning Timeline Touchpoints

It’s a good idea to have regular touchpoint meetings throughout the planning process. It can be a simple, weekly standup meeting where you run down a list of tasks, one-by-one, to determine where things are at. Don’t complicate it, don’t make it longer than it needs to be. What you want to know is:

  • What’s done
  • What’s being done
  • What obstacles are you encountering
  • What should be the expectation moving forward

Every two to three weeks you can schedule a longer meeting if needed to spend more time on the finer points of timeline tasks. At the end of the day, you want to keep the momentum going and make sure everyone on your team has a forum for voicing concerns or problems. This way you won’t be met with any last minute surprises the week of Easter.

Planning Creative Easter Ideas and Elements

Having addressed the overall strategy framework, we want to spend a bit more time, specifically, on the creative process.

Creative is another one of those buzzwords that float around the church office. Rather than simply getting ‘creative’ around your Easter sermon and celebration, you want to aim that creative energy at how you are going to tell a big story wrapped around your Easter sermon big idea.

Creativity in this context means telling the same story through a variety of mediums. Some of the mediums may include:

  • Graphics / Visuals
  • Videos
  • Music / Worship
  • Artistic Elements
  • Story Telling / Testimony
  • Special Focus / Giving Element
  • Teaching
  • Prayer / Communion
  • Response

Every element communicates the story through a variety of senses to a variety of people, with a variety of learning styles. Once your big idea is decided, your overall plan framework is set, and expectations are established, your creative team can get to work, crafting a single story through every moment leading up to and through Easter.

Quote: Easter Sunday creativity is about telling the same story through every medium you utilize at your church.
Easter is a time for strategic creativity — all elements, all mediums, all touch points telling one story.

The Central Point of Your Easter Sermon

It is natural for pastors to feel pressure to communicate Easter in a new and unique way. However, what people want more than anything on Easter is the classic story of Jesus. That’s the story you have to tell.

There is literally no better story you can tell than what Jesus has done. Do not feel pressured to tell a new story.

The hard work of landing on a central theme for your sermon has been done. Not only have you decided upon a central theme, but that central theme is now the crux for your entire plan. Tell the story of Christ crucified and resurrected through that lens.

Refer back to your top level outline and locate where you stated your Easter big idea. This is the idea you want to continue to pull everything back to.

Choosing An Easter Sermon Series Title

The first thing you want to do is choose a Easter sermon or sermon series title. Will it be “From Death to Life”? Will it be just “Death to Life”? Perhaps, “Hello, Life” might be a fun play.

Some of this may have already happened in the collaboration stage, and that’s fine. If you haven’t landed on the title, now is the time to hammer out exactly what you want.

You can do all the wordsmithing you want—in the end, you just have to choose what will fit best. Make that choice and don’t look back.

Creating Your Easter Sermon Series Graphic

The second item you want to finalize is your Easter sermon or sermon series graphic. You have decided on your title and have example images; now is when you come up with the visual identity to call your own.

If you’re working with a staff graphic designer, chances are you already have a good rhythm for putting that person to work on sermon series graphics. Follow that same rhythm and be sure to emphasize what elements of your big idea must be present in the imagery.

If you do not have a staff graphic designer or a volunteer, you have more options than ever.

Ministry Pass website featuring the Easter collections page.
If you don’t have a graphic designer on staff, or a volunteer who helps, sites like Ministry Pass (that’s us) provide you with everything you need for your sermon series — graphics to research to small group resources.

Serving churches that need sermon series graphics is part of why we created Ministry Pass. The other part was to help resource pastors with sermon research, series tools, and sermon media, allowing them to return their focus to preaching the Gospel.

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With your creative team, browse our Easter sermon series (or the sermon series graphics site of your choice) and select two-three that resonate best with you. During the same sitting, go ahead and make your final selection, then download the source graphics and provide them to the rest of your team.

Completing Your Easter Celebration Service Order

With your big idea, sermon title, and Easter artwork selected, you are in a good position to round out the elements that will comprise your Easter celebration service order, including the elements you’ll choose to use in your sermon itself.

While we won’t get into the finer details about planning an Easter celebration service order here, there are a few items we will mention.

Easter Sermon Elements

Your talk will likely range between 15 to 35 minutes — incorporating elements beyond the dialogue itself will serve as an invitation for those who learn differently. Some will follow every word you say, they love learning through oratory. For others, they will need visuals or elements that engage their senses.

Here is a list of several ways you can introduce variety into your Easter sermon.

Whatever you choose to do, you want it to compliment your message and serve the purpose of communicating the larger big idea in a tone consistent with your title and artwork. Keeping with the theme will allow for any element you choose to have maximum impact.

Promoting Easter At Your Church

Marketing may be referred to in your church as communication or promotion — regardless of what noun you use, you want to make known to others the reasons why they should attend your church on Easter Sunday.

The Easter Mega Sermon Strategy makes marketing and promotion a lot easier for you and your entire team because it puts everyone on the same page. Having the outline in front of everyone ensures that no one is left wondering about what they’re working to invite others to.

Your marketing and promotion plan should creatively tell the story of your church and what it is you are offering to visitors, guests, and the surrounding community. The messaging needs to be clear, attractive, and easily accessible (no Christianese).

No one needs to remind you that this will be one of the highest attended weekends of the year, which means the number of people in attendance who are not walking with Jesus will be very high! Using the Easter Mega Sermon Strategy as a springboard, create a narrative through your promotional materials that build anticipation and cause intrigue. Tell your story early so that those passing your building, seeing your ads on Facebook, and receiving invites from their neighbors can’t miss what you are offering through this year’s Easter message.

The Importance of the Timeline

Once your timeline is established, the Easter title is decided, and the final artwork is selected, you have everything you need to market and promote effectively.

Keeping on schedule with promotional elements will make certain of two things:

  1. You get the maximum return on any and every investment you make.
  2. You will have time to adjust to the unexpected.

If you are still looking for a few suggestions for promoting your Easter sermon, here are some that may be a great fit for your church!

  • Road Banner (install four-five weeks before Easter)
  • Service Bulletin (include details as early as six weeks out)
  • Invite Cards (print three for every person in your church and disseminate six weeks out)
  • Easter Landing Page (a single page on your website with 100% Easter info)
  • Facebook Ads (dedicate as little as $100 and start running ads a month out)
  • Google Ads (dedicate as little as $1.67 per day and direct to your Easter web page)

Pulling Off Your Easter Sunday Strategy

By now it should be clear that there are a lot of moving parts to creating a memorable and successful (think people turning to Jesus) Easter Sunday celebration. There is a lot of busyness, maybe some nervousness, and certainly excitement in the weeks leading up to Easter.

Having a solid strategy — like the Easter Mega Sermon Strategy — helps lead pastors, their staff, and key volunteers become mentally prepared for everything that needs to happen.

Just as prayer plays a key role in your weekly services, your sermon series, and your mid-week programming, so should it play a key role in preparing for Easter.

One of the biggest objections to this level of planning is that there is no room for the Holy Spirit to move. This is actually one of the primary objections pastors make when discussing the merits of a using a preaching calendar.

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God reserves the right, at a moment’s notice, to change our plans to what He wants to do. We must be faithful to prepare and be ready so that God can move — whether that be through the plans we’ve prayed over and labored through, or a last minute adjustment that the Spirit is leading us to make.

Leading Your Team to Lead Their Teams

If you follow a path similar to what we’ve laid out in this article, your entire strategy will be bathed in prayer and created by those who are gifted in each undertaking you’ve made. You can move forward with confidence, knowing you’ve gone about things the right way.

Be sure to pray with your team, encourage your team, minister to your team, and teach them how to do the same with their teams — the teams of people who will ultimately execute your Easter Mega Sermon Strategy.

Your strategy and Easter outline will align everyone around the practical elements of Easter this year. Prayer and fellowship will align everyone around the spiritual elements that are just as present. This unity among your staff will bring a new level of excitement to each person as they realize how their individual part plays a role in making an impact in the Kingdom of God through Easter. Connecting the strategy to the Kingdom impact is the most important part and is easy to lose sight of when planning a big event like Easter.

Delivering Your Easter Sermon

You’ve spent weeks preparing your sermon and you’ve developed a strong outline. You’ve spent time in prayer, you’ve sought the direction of the Holy Spirit, and you have created a compelling narrative that is true to your big idea and points people towards Jesus.

Now is the time to preach.

There will always be a temptation to become something you’re not during big events like this. This sensation isn’t unique to pastors on Easter Sunday. It’s true of people in general.

When presented with a larger platform than we enjoy on a week-in-week-out basis, we want to step up to the challenges presented by that platform. The truth is that what you have accomplished up to this point has most likely earned you the larger platform.

Stay true to who you are, your natural strengths, and the insight and feedback you receive from people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to your preaching.

If you want to use props, use props.

If you have some funny jokes, use them.

If you want to tell a specific story, tell the story.

If you want to go way out of the box and have people dancing on stage — don’t be afraid to do it.

Run your ideas by others, receive counsel and instruction, and move forward making sure to lean on your strengths.

Quote: Keep your Easter sermon short and to the point. Intrigue guests. They are there for the Gospel story — not to see you preach.
Believers and non-believers alike are attending Easter Sunday because of the Gospel story, not to listen to any given speaker. Make your sermon short and to the point.

In your final preparation, it is a good practice to keep the message shorter than your typical sermon. You are most likely incorporating other special elements into this service to tell certain parts of the Easter story — account for the time used by those elements in your sermon.

There will be a large percentage of people who are attending Easter to check something off their list; as soon as the service ends, they’re headed off to brunch or a family event. Keep them wanting more, don’t give them a reason to continue to check their watch. They are there for the Gospel story, not you.

Your Post Easter Plan

As important as the Easter sermon and overall celebration is, a post Easter plan is even more important.

Too often Easter Sunday is considered a finish line for ministry. Toiling, striving, building, working, and giving everything you have to make Sunday a great experience — and then everyone takes the next several days off and the following week it’s back to business as usual.

An Easter Strategy is about creating an invitation to the Gospel and launching into making disciples.

In your planning, you should have identified your goal for visitors on Easter Sunday and right along side your Easter Sunday experience goal needs to be a single call-to-action for post Easter.

Ask yourself the following question.

  • What is the one action we want to invite visitors to take?

Here are a few of the most common call-to-action items you’ll find at various churches.

  • Come next Sunday
  • New sermon series starts next Sunday
  • Visit our guest center
  • Register for our ‘new people’ class
  • Attend a mid-week program

Whatever your single call-to-action is, it must be a strong entry point to a discipleship strategy and it should be the final point of your sermon. Use your sermon to connect the truth of the story to the action they will take.

Follow up starts immediately after your message concludes, then trickles into the lobby, is felt as parents pick up their children from Sunday school, and continues through the entire experience as guests leave your campus.

Growing Your Staff, Your Volunteers, and Your Church Through Easter

Easter is a fantastic opportunity to invest in your team, build chemistry between staff, strategize over church growth, create a plan for moving people from one place to another, empowering volunteers, and celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

Using a strategy such as the Easter Mega Sermon Strategy will allow you to systematize the details and avoid losing sight of the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing.

In the past, planning and strategizing took its toll in the form of long hours, late nights, and last minute needs that have you or your team frantically working to tie up loose ends.

This year, inspire your team to embrace the idea of planning your entire Easter celebration around the core message of your Easter sermon. Getting out ahead and formulating a strategy takes the frustration out of planning and actually transforms the entire process into a fun, collaborative experience.

When you arrive for Easter, even though you’re busy creating the experience for so many others, be sure to slow down and enjoy the presence of God—knowing your team has everything they need from you and you can confidently do your part to hear from God and preach the message He has prepared in advance for this Easter Sunday.

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