Rick Warren Says Easter Is a Great Starting Point for Evangelism, But Not the Finish Line for a Purpose-Driven Church

rick-warren

Easter is one of the two biggest weekends for most churches in terms of attendance. I see this as a great opportunity for evangelism to begin and for a relationship to start between your church and all of the visitors who come that Sunday. You should do everything you can to leverage Easter weekend for growth.

At the same time, it’s important not to “put all your eggs in the Easter basket.” What I mean is, Easter is a great starting point for evangelism, but it’s not the finish line, at least not for a purpose-driven church. In our culture, it usually takes multiple exposures to the gospel for someone to make a decision to follow Jesus. Let me explain.

Give People More Than One Week

Many churches offer a come-forward invitation—which, by the way, I used to do myself, Billy Graham-style, when I would preach evangelistic crusades. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with altar calls. But often the emphasis is on making a decision in the moment, and often there is a lot of pressure.

If we’re not careful, it becomes a battle of the wills, and if we unintentionally fall into the trap of emotionally coercing people into making an instant decision, it becomes a battle of wills between the pastor and the person in the congregation. This often hardens hearts rather than softening them. I say if the fruit is ripe, you don’t have to yank it.

The fact is, many people come to church for many different motives. We believe if they’ll just keep coming, it is inevitable that the Holy Spirit is going to speak to them. It’s just a matter of time. God’s Word has life-giving power and does not return void. When we share it faithfully, it brings the spiritually dead back to life. Don’t be in a hurry to force people to make a premature decision. Let Easter Sunday be the start of a longer-term relationship.

You probably didn’t receive Christ the first time you heard the Good News. I didn’t either. I had to think about it. So while we need to present the gospel clearly and always give people an opportunity to respond by receiving Christ, we don’t have to apply more pressure than the Holy Spirit does.

We believe that everyone must make a decision about what they will do with Jesus and that only those who decide to receive Him will spend eternity in heaven. But we’re interested in far more than just the initial decision. We’re interested in making disciples. People who make decisions under pressure tend to drop away quicker once the pressure’s off, but decisions that are made after people have seriously considered the implications of following Christ are the decisions that last.

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SOURCE: Charisma News
Rick Warren

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