large_6912233286

By Chuck Lawless

This coming Sunday, Christians around the world will celebrate Easter – perhaps better understood as “Resurrection Sunday.” Some believers will celebrate with meals and family get-togethers. Some will gather with the largest church crowds they’ve seen all year; others will join small groups to rejoice quietly in places where gathering is life threatening.

I wonder, though, if we sometimes celebrate the resurrection one Sunday a year and really don’t let its truth affect our lives. Here are six steps Christian leaders might take this week as we focus on Easter and live out its truths.

  1. Spend one day in prayer meditating on what we do. I remember well the first time I watched a church member die. I sat by her bedside until her body relaxed after its final breath. I was just a 20-year-old pastor, and I wasn’t sure what to do next. What I did understand, though, was that something significant had just happened. A believer had entered heaven – and I realized then that ministry deals with the eternal. Take time this week to read the narratives of Jesus’ death and resurrection in the gospels. Meditate on them. Weep over them. Rejoice in the victory. Because of the resurrection, what we do really does matter.
  2. Reach out to another church leader who has seemingly lost hope. They are all around us, frankly. Hurting. Alone. Wounded. Hiding . . . and hopeless. They are like the bewildered followers of Jesus post-crucifixion but pre-resurrection. Some will preach this coming Sunday about resurrection, but the story will mean little to them. Their present-tense pain overshadows any sense of future-tense hope. Find one of these leaders, and be a model of resurrection hope this week. Take somebody to lunch. Offer a prayer. Be a light to somebody wandering aimlessly in the darkness.
  3. Give somebody a second chance. Most of us have a Simon in our life – someone who once loved us, but who hurt us deeply. Sometimes no repentance has taken place, and no reconciliation has occurred. At other times, though, our Simon has been broken over his/her wrong, but we remain angry and distant. Our own pain becomes an idol. If that’s where you are, take a page from the resurrection story. Simon Peter denied Jesus, but Jesus never took His eye off the disciple (Luke 22:61). The angel at the open tomb made certain Peter heard the truth of the resurrection (Mark 16:7). The fallen fisherman, still one of the family, had a second chance. Give somebody that same chance this Easter season.
  4. Serve with renewed vigor, even if you seem to be serving among the dead. Many of us have been there. Nobody seems to be listening to your teaching. Months, or even years, have passed since someone showed significant life change through your ministry. Sunday is more a chore than a day of worship and celebration. If you’ve lost your passion for the people you serve, let the truths of the resurrection sink in. God is not dead. The days seemingly in the tomb only make the day of resurrection that much brighter – and that day will come. Even if you think you’re the only person in your congregation doing so this week, serve the Lord with resurrection steam. You might be pleasantly surprised by the response of your people.
  5. Teach the Word clearly and concisely. This task might seem almost too simple, but here’s the point: we have an opportunity this week to preach the gospel to many who haven’t heard it in awhile (perhaps since last Easter) – so we simply must do it well. Our job is to communicate the Word, not impress with our knowledge or oratory skills. Just because we can preach an hour doesn’t mean we always should. So, study hard this week, but present the Word in a way that the smallest child or the oldest adult understands it. Our responsibility is to point all people of all ages to the resurrected Lord, not to us.
  6. Let God surprise you. Sure, the disciples heard Jesus talk about His death and resurrection. They knew what He had said, but still they were surprised – and ultimately filled with wonder – when the resurrected One stood before them. The resurrection reminds us that God operates outside of our boxes. He is hardly limited to our boundaries. Frankly, it wouldn’t hurt most of us if God did something in our lives not already planned in our church bulletin.

Church leader, let the resurrected Lord surprise you with His glory this week. He is risen indeed!


Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

PhD_ThomRainer

photo credit: Avondale Pattillo UMC via photopin cc

Get these posts delivered to your inbox daily

Subscribe today and receive my free downloadable resource on the minister's salary!

Comments

  1. says

    Great list to help us refocus for Easter. Especially #1. Too many times, I get so caught-up in all the tasks that need to be completed that I miss just spending time with God. Over the last few months, I have made a conscience effort to spend more time praying. This is always a challenge for a bi-vocational pastor.

    • Chuck Lawless says

      Thanks, David, for the reminder for all of us to slow down. And thanks for your willingness to be a bi-vocational pastor. I’m convinced we won’t win North America unless more folks are willing to serve in this capacity.

  2. says

    Dr. Lawless this was refreshing to read this week in preparation for Easter Sunday. I like your suggestion to reach out to other pastors who are low of hope and energy. Have you found in your experience when you call pastors to pray for them or invite them to lunch that they are receptive? Thank you for your words of encouragement.

    • Chuck Lawless says

      Brett, pastors are busy, and not all are readily available — but for the most part, I’ve found pastors open to a lunch and prayer. Good question.

  3. Hector Melendez says

    Thank you!
    Brief and to the point, all good items worth reviewing and applying every day!
    Pretty flowers on the cross…highlights the cross spiritual beauty significance, a sweet fragance unto God!
    I made do that, bring red roses and give it to the mothers/ladies after the Lord Supper.
    Happy Resurrection Sunday!

  4. says

    I’m a leader in our church (the link I listed above is our newest blog that I had the privilege to launch just yesterday!) and I stumbled across this post and wanted to just say thanks for posting some tips like this! Newbies can always take tips from experienced ones for sure! Anyways, if you get a chance, stop by our blog and follow along – we enjoy making new friends!

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


− one = 1