We’re rarely in better form than on Easter morning, proclaiming the Good News that “Christ has Risen!”. Then...the day-after arrives. Church staff, who’ve spent every ounce of energy, stay home and draw the blinds.
Just when we’re drained, our members are amped up on church and Easter faith and the possibilities to come. Miss this - and it’s a squandered Hallelujah!
One way to seize the moment is by challenging members to live their faith out loud this Spring. One spring, we decided to build on that Easter enthusiasm by running a "Spring Serve" opportunity that transformed post-Easter into a high-energy, high-engagement season which transformed lives as well as our church. During these weeks (between Easter and Memorial Day), all ages had opportunities to serve. Sunday School students led book-drives, sorted donations, and washed church windows. High School students worked side-by-side with adults to organize the local clothing shelf, while teens and families worked together to make kits which they later handed out to homeless adults. Others cleaned or painted places in the church that needed attention, planted community gardens, and tackled projects at local schools, parks and outreach centers.
“Be transformed,” says Romans 12:2. Meta-morph-ousthe is the Greek word in that sentence. Like our word metamorphosis, is how God talks about the transformation that happens when we do what God is asking. Think, Jesus after the resurrection. Think, us after rolling up our sleeves and seeing our faith change our corner of the world. That’s resurrection power in us and through us, changing lives; changing our life.
Spring Serve transformed not only those served and serving, but our congregation; from a place where it was hard to find 6-people to fill 8-needed-volunteer spots – to a place where our waiting lists had waiting lists because so many people wanted to be part of the Spring Serve. We got to a place where almost anyone who wanted to lead a service project during the Spring Serve, could. If I had it to do over, I would have started there - with allowing people to follow their passions, and to take us with them.
Your Spring Serve might:
- Include a variety of opportunities, both onsite (clean the nursery) and offsite (clean up the local school playground).
- Make sure there are opportunities for varying ages and abilities. Get worship-teams and youth teams on-board early so pictures of them (as leaders who serve) can inspire participation.
- Encourage all your ministries to share a part in the Spring Serve. Talk it up! Use PowerPoint, your website, social media, your newsletter or even flyers to tell what’s coming up and what happened this past week. We printed a "Church/Name Was Here" sign that each serving-group used for photo opps that we shared each work in worship.
- Encourage groups to talk about the transformation that happens when the impact of a group outweighs individual efforts (synergy), and why we get more done and have more influence together, than on our own.
- Get a team to create a clear sign-up process (at tables, online, through church bulletins or special handouts that can be placed in the offering plate). And, don’t forget to include all 5-Ws on every bit of publicity (as well as on pre-event reminders): Who, What, When, Where, Why.
- Include preachers in the conversation; they may want to lead a Real Servants sermon series in tandem with the Spring Serve. Bible passages on serving or historical examples of great servants can be the basis for your series. On Mother’s Day, consider honoring the ways that parents serve; and how God, the parent of the world, serves us.
Spring Serve takes resurrection-faith to the next level, with resurrection-living. When serving transforms lives, churches and communities, Easter's “Hallelujah” resounds for weeks to come!