From Black Friday to Good Friday: Easter Ad Campaigns

Every business has a busy season. In order to be successful, corporate marketing departments prepare for these busy-seasons long in advance. Advertising space is purchased and sale flyers are printed long before the first sleepy shoppers roll out of bed on Black Friday to do their Christmas shopping. Somewhere along the way, the Evangelical Industrial Complex decided that Easter Sunday was the church’s Black Friday. Church shoppers are out in force and churches have marketing materials ready to go long before Easter weekend. Personally, I’d rather the church shoppers drive right past my church on Easter morning.

That sounds downright backwards for an evangelical Christian to say, but I mean it. I don’t want my local church to pander to CEOs (Christmas and Easter Only churchgoers). Too many churches view Easter, not as one of fifty-two annual celebrations and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, but as an opportunity to draw and retain new church-goers. In order to do this, there must be a change to business as usual. Something must be done to attract and retain these CEOS. Whatever the local church is doing the other the fifty-one Sundays of the year doesn’t interest CEOs. If it did, they would be coming to church. So something must be changed, not only to attract them, but to keep them coming. So expositional sermon series and hym-singings are paused and replaced by pageant-like presentations and felt-needs preaching: activities meant to attract and impress newcomers. It’s pandering and the local church really shouldn’t pander to anyone. Ultimately, the various ministries of the local church should be directed towards God as acts of worship. Growing the church, through the fulfillment of the great commission, is indeed an act of worship. Growing the church through making it more attractive to lost people is a bad idea.

And let’s face it, that’s what CEOs are. They are lost people, at best culturally Christian. If they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit, they wouldn’t be picking what church to attend on Easter Sunday based on yard signs, billboards, and bumper stickers. They would already be baptized members of a local churches that attend every Sunday. CEOs are people who need to be evangelized all year long. Somehow, church members have been conditioned into thinking that Easter time is invite time. It is, but that’s because Easter is but one of the 365 days a year that lost people should be invited to repent of their sins and come to Christ for salvation. When that happens, Easter extravaganzas aren’t needed to attract and retain church goers. Saved people just want to come to church. Remember that when they are handing out yard signs and bumper stickers at your church.

It’s time to rethink your church’s “Easter At XYZ” ad campaign. It’s church! It’s the gathering of the Lord’s people! Every Sunday is a celebration of the greatest thing that’s ever happened. Treat those Sundays accordingly.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant