Celebrating the Resurrection of Christ
Sermons, Outlines, Illustrations, Meditations and Program Ideas
J. Michael Shannon & Robert C. Shannon
(c)opyright 1984, J. Michael Shannon

Attendance Promotions
From Galilee to Golgotha

    It is approximately seventy-five miles, as the crow flies, from Galilee to Golgotha.  Attendance for the six to eight weeks preceding Resurrection Day can be promoted by figuring what you want to average for each Sunday, multiplying it by the number of Sundays, and then dividing that by seventy-five.  (Or you could adjust the mileage to seventy or eighty to make it come out evenly.)  The resulting figure is the number of people you need to travel one mile.  Divide your weekly attendance by that figure to find out how many miles you have gone, traveling with Jesus from Galilee to Golgotha.

    For example, let's say you want to average 150 for eight weeks.  First, multiply 150 by 8, and you get 1200.  Divide this by 75, and you get 16.  You need sixteen people in attendance to travel one mile.  If you have exactly 150 every week, you will travel 9 3/8 miles each week (150/16), and in eight weeks you will cover the seventy-five miles.

    Again, suppose you want to average 350 for six weeks.  Multiply 350 by 6, and you get 2100.  Adjust the mileage to seventy for convenience, and divide 2100 by 70.  Your answer is 30, which is the number it takes to travel one mile.  If you average 350 during the six weeks, you will travel an average of 11 2/3 miles each week (350/30), or 70 miles during the campaign.

    A map of Israel in Bible times or a map of modern Israel could be enlarged to mark and display your progress.  Or a large chart could be made showing a road twisting from Galilee to Golgotha.  You might want to show some points along the way, like Nazareth and Nain, Shechem, and Bethel.  A colorful cut-out of a church can be moved along the path to show progress, or a small head of Christ, or simply a large, round, colorful circle.  Another way to show progress would be to leave the path white and color it in as progress is made.

    The good thing about such a campaign is that one low Sunday does not destroy the possibility of reaching the goal and can be overcome on a succeeding Sunday.  You need a minimum of six weeks to take advantage of the build-up of momentum and for word of the effort to get around.  Probably eight weeks is the maximum period in which interest can be sustained.

Golgotha to Galilee

    Of course, if you want the attendance campaign to follow Resurrection Day, it is a simple matter to reverse the above procedure since the risen Christ promised to meet His disciples in Galilee.  It would not be effective to do both campaigns back to back!  Choose whatever period seems best for attendance promotion.

As Far As Bethany

    Luke 24:50 says, "He led them out as far as Bethany."  This suggests another possibility for a post-Resurrection campaign.  Bethany is fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem.  The landmarks along the way are the Garden of Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives, Bethpage, the home of Lazarus, and Bethany itself.

Lilies for Our Lord

    Another way to promote attendance in observance of the resurrection is to have a large poster or sign board painted with a huge lily minus the blooms.  Each Sunday the goal is reached a bloom is painted on, or attached to, the lily.

Rolling Away the Stone

    A large poster showing the tomb with the stone in front of the door can be marked in such a way that each Sunday the goal is reached the stone is rolled a little farther back.  By Resurrection Sunday, the stone is rolled away completely.

Cross Words

    Create a large crossword puzzle with either six or eight words to be inserted, words that have to do with the cross, such as atonement, redemption, reconciliation, new life, grace, Iamb, and others.  There is a number for each word corresponding to the Sundays of the campaign.  The first week, you might fill in number one across if the goal is reached; the next, number two down, and so on.  It would be possible to tie this to a series of sermons on each of these important Cross Words.
 

 
1R
 
E
D
 
2L
 
3R
E
C
O
N
C
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L
I
A
T
I
O
 4N
 
M
 
M
 
E
P
B
W
5A
T
O
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E
M
E
N
T
 
L
 
I
 
I
O
F
N
 
6G
R
A
C
E

Resurrection to Pentecost

    There are eight Sundays from Resurrection to Pentecost; and that is a natural period for an attendance campaign.  Perhaps it could be coupled with sermons on the appearances of the risen Lord or other events that lay between these two great events in Christian history.

The Easter Fire

    Note the Greek custom of blacking out the church at midnight on Resurrection Saturday and then lighting candles from a single flame lit in the chancel of the church.  They call it the "Easter fire."  That should be the springboard for a fine post-Resurrection promotion!  How long will the "Easter fire" last for us?  When will it burn out?  You probably should not attempt a real flame for obvious safety reasons, but a simulated flame would do nicely.

BEHIND THE PUBLICITY

Charts and posters help advertise a program and dramatize progress; but there must be more than that for an attendance promotion to work.  You will need a structure behind the "window dressing."  Some possibilities are:

ONE DAY PROMOTIONS

For Resurrection Day

    Nothing works better than promoters who will each sign up ten people to attend.  Why not get each promoter one Easter card from the greeting card store and have them sign up attenders on that?  If you want to break a record, paint the number on an old record disk and break it publicly.  If you have done that, have a huge disk sawed out of plywood and paint the number on it.  Then announce you are going to break the biggest record you ever attempted to break!

For after Resurrection Day

    Many congregations have done well promoting the Sunday following Easter.  It can be called "Easter Plus One."  You try to have one more than the Easter total on the Sunday following.  This calls for lots of work behind the scenes to line people up to attend.  lt could be called "Easter Afterglow."  Study the customs of the Greek Easter, which is often later than our Easter.  You might be able to design a program promoting attendance on "The Second Easter."


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Scanned and proofread by Michael Riggs