The Monday After

Email sent by Darryn Scheske

Hi Guys,

I hope you had a fantastic Easter celebration yesterday! Big Days come with big expectations. Easter and Christmas can be rough on the church planter. Let me share a few thoughts about Easter and the morning after.

The question is not IF you will be down today (what comes up must go down). Maybe you’ve heard it called, “the holy hangover.” The real question is, "How do you come down well after Sunday?” (This works for every Sunday, by the way).

1. Don’t make any major decisions today. Just recover. Get outside. Breathe in the fresh air. Enjoy God’s creation.

2. Don’t freak out over mistakes or imperfections. Satan will attack your mind after Easter. Don’t rehash every problem or rehearse everything somebody said. Satan magnifies negative comments, little flaws and imperfections, and makes them seem like mountains. Your emotions can be raw. Don’t "fire anybody” on Monday.

3. Don’t let your guard down. The devil tempts the most after church on Sunday, or on Monday.  Protect your self, be close to your spouse.  Guard your hearts. Expect it as normal. 

When Nehemiah was trying to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, his enemies kept trying to set him up and get him isolated so they could kill him. 

Nehemiah 6:1–4 (NIV) — 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; 3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.

The enemy comes to tempt you, attack your mind, or entice you away. Don’t go talk with your enemy. Nehemiah said, “I’m involved to too great a work of God to stop what I’m doing and come talk to you.”  Actively expect spiritual warfare.

Today, just celebrate the wins and protect your emotions. Focus on loving the people who responded. Every new life in Christ is precious and a miracle.

So get outside. Run. Ride. Relax. One pastor I know says, “For me it’s golf or gardening.” Whatever it takes to re-create your body, soul and spirit…enjoy this day.

Love you much,

Darryn 

P.S. A word about expectations and numbers if you're feeling defeated.

I had a very rough first 5 years as a church planter. I experienced 4 months of consecutive decline after we launched with 154 people in October. My emotions were all over the map and I struggled with my confidence. I could never figure out Easter either. We’d bump a little but no amount of preparation and promotion seemed to make Easter a big deal. I even brought out Jeff Saturday from the Indianapolis Colts once…only a minor bump in attendance.

Over the years I’ve been able to put it all in perspective and see what was really going on. The dynamics had more to do with what was habitual for people, and less about my leadership ability.

Church planters should relax about Easter and Christmas. The first 4-5 years of your church, Easter probably won’t be as big as you hope it will be. You may not see a big Easter until your 4-5th year. This is because people have family traditions associated with these days. People tend to go home to be their families. Establishing the tradition of your church being the "home” people come back to just takes time. Other people who are considering going to church for the first time may be drawn to a big event somewhere, “Look they have real donkeys!” ...and they don’t see a church plant environment as big enough to offer the show they’re looking for. That’s not our goal anyway. We're not trying to create a special, flying circus Easter event. 

We're trying to make it a normal Sunday that we bump it up a bit. Add a creative element or two. Bring in some extra musicians. Work harder on the transitions and flow of the service. Bump up our guest experience…BUT it’s a normal day! We work a little harder at it, but it’s the same thing we normally do. This consistency pays off in the long run. We don’t over promise and under deliver. We just keep showing up, and bumping it up 3-4 big days a year, offering clear next steps, and keeping our church calendars clear of competing activities.

Recently, I’ve added a prayer emphasis as part of the preparation before those big days. Early on, I was too busy with the details to focus on organizing a season of prayer and fasting…but I’m learning this is where the spiritual power really comes from.

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Church Planting Article, Easter, Darryn Scheske