Recently I preached for Pastor David Cook at Union Baptist Church in Winder, GA. After the evening service, we were kicking around ideas (as preachers do) and our talk wandered to Easter and beyond.
We discussed ways to make Easter better, more evangelistic, and impactful.
And, we discussed how difficult Easter preaching can be.
In my own pastoral ministry, my tendency was to over-think Easter.
Inception Of An Easter Preaching Idea
In the course of our conversation he mentioned an idea he had for an Easter sermon. The simple title would be “Empty.”
The moment he said that my creative juices started flowing. He and I came up with a few ideas for a sermon series on the spot.
The next Sunday, while I was preaching at another church, I shared the ideas with that pastor and he encouraged me to write a blog post about it to help pastors out.
So, here it is.
I’ll give a couple of points about Easter preaching and at the end I’ll give you a potential series. Feel free to use it exactly as it is printed or use it to get your creativity started.
1. Keep It Simple Stupid
Do you remember your English teacher telling you that in English 101? Simple was easier in high school and college, but then we went to seminary and somewhere we learned how to complicate sermons.
(By the way, research consistently shows that the brain tends to complicate things more often than not.)
I think all sermons should be simple in structure but work hard on your Easter sermon to keep it simple.
Not simplistic. Just simple. Forget sub-points on this day. Forget complicated structure. Don’t worry about alliteration. If you have 3 points, awesome. But, if you can preach a 1-point sermon, that’s even better.
2. Keep It Short
Easter is not the time for your 45-minute dissertation. This is the time for your 25 or 30-minute, Scripture-packed, Holy Spirit infused, shorter sermon.
With this principle in mind, if you aren’t familiar with TED talks you should be. TED talks are presentations from people who are changing the world. TED talks cannot be longer than 18 minutes. Presidents, CEOs, authors, and leading influencers have spoken at TED and they are all required to finish before 18 minutes are up.
I’m not saying your sermon should be 18 minutes – mine have never been. But, think in the realm of 25-30 minutes and you’ll be fine. Use Explanation, illustration, argumentation, and application (a.k.a. well-rounded development!) in that 25 minutes and the sermon WILL make an impact. And, get your church praying for your sermon and the attenders who will hear it… and who knows what the Lord will do on that day!
3. Keep It Specific
It should go without saying that the sermon should be Scriptural on Easter. There’s too much Scripture on the resurrection to do anything else! Typically on Easter Sunday church attendance doubles here in the United States.
That’s right – it DOUBLES nationwide.
So, go into Easter Sunday with a Gospel-specific sermon. Make sure you preach a clear presentation of the Gospel and give an opportunity to respond. Do not miss this golden opportunity.
Leverage It For Momentum
I learned years ago that it is better to start a sermon series on Easter than to finish one or to be in the middle of one.
Use the Easter sermon as Sermon #1 and let it serve as a sort of advertisement for the rest of the series. Make sure you advertise in your bulletin, online, in Social Media, and on your web page.
Sample Sermon Series. No Charge, Brother. No Charge.
Here’s a sermon starter for your Easter Series:
Sermon Series title: “Empty”
I’m including here ideas based on topics and a few suggestions. I will assume that ultimately you would develop this as you see fit according to the topic and you would do so from the Scriptures. You can also develop each directly from a passage and make it an expository message each Sunday through the series while remaining with the topic of “Empty” overall.
Easter Sermon – “Empty Tomb” The main point would be that the empty tomb provides current and ultimate victory over sin and death. It has implications for a “full” Eternity. You could also relate the empty tomb to being full of validation regarding who Christ was as Messiah vs. mere martyr, teacher or role model.
April 27th – “Empty Life” Here you could go to the upper room and describe the waiting posture the disciples were taking. The main point would be that even in the midst of the circumstances of their life, God had a grand design. And, he has a grand design for the listener’s life as well. They received power from God for His purposes and plan to be fulfilled through them for His Glory. Same for us.
May 4th – “Empty Checkbook” Preach a stewardship or “financial health” sermon. Yes, it is a “felt need” but remember you are advertising for the lost and unchurched that are attending on Easter. What a great time to preach on handling money God’s way. People will come to hear what the Bible says about handling finances.
May 11th – “Empty Marriage” This is Mother’s Day so you could preach a family sermon and ask all the moms in your church to bring their sons and daughters. The main point of the sermon would be that the victorious Christian life is the best thing for your marriage. Or, that health marriages represent Christ and his relationship to His Church and He’s interested in strengthening marriages for His glory.
May 18th– “Empty Earth” Preach an end-times message. You could make it evangelistic… very easily, as a matter of fact. On Easter, you will sow the gospel into hearts that may or may not respond… but bringing some to this point in the series would be a great opportunity to reap a harvest before summer sets in.
These are just a few suggestions around one simple series idea. Do you have an ideas on series topics that could begin on Easter? Or, do you have any ideas for the series “Empty”?