12 Ways to Ensure Easter Attendees Don’t Come Back to Your Church Next Week

This Sunday is Easter and when you look around your church you’re going to get that uncomfortable feeling that comes from being around all kinds of people you haven’t seen in a while or perhaps never before.  You know, the slackers who only show up at church twice a year, the backsliders who haven’t been to church in 5 years, and the heathens who wouldn’t know the Pentateuch from a pentagram.

They’re going to take your favorite pew, sit and stand at the wrong times during the service, and double your wait in the coffee line after the service.  You don’t want to have to put up with those distractions and inconveniences week in and week out, so here are 12 ways to ensure those people don’t come back the week after Easter.

  1. Keep to yourself.  Avoid eye contact.  And by all means don’t welcome anyone you don’t know.
  2. Walk up to someone you haven’t seen for a while and say, “Hey, hey… Look who it is…  You don’t think just showing up for Easter is going to get you out of the Big Guy’s doghouse, do you?”
  3. Make sure all the greeters, ushers, singers, speakers, and everyone involved in leading the service are all of the same ethnic background so that if anyone of a different ethnicity shows up they know they are considered second-class citizens.
  4. Take down all your signs so only the regulars know if a door leads to the pastor’s office, the ladies room, or a broom closet.
  5. During the service have the pastor pray, “Lord, please forgive all those sinners who have failed to remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.”
  6. Invite the worst singer in the choir to do a solo.
  7. Find a way to tie the Easter message into a soliloquy on the Iraq War and make it clear that everyone who disagrees with the pastor’s position is on the devil’s side.
  8. During the service ask all the visitors to stand and then introduce themselves to the entire congregation.
  9. Announce that next week the pastor will begin a 12-week series on hell.
  10. Put a sign up in the children’s ministry area that indicates you have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to volunteers with criminal records.
  11. Just assume that everyone understands what communion is all about.  Then when people start coming forward to receive communion have the ushers quietly walk up to the “really big sinners” and ask them to return to their seats.
  12. Announce that visitors must fill out a form with their contact information and should expect an elder-evangelist tag team waiting in their driveway when they get home.

Of course, if you actually care about guests and irregular church attenders because you believe they matter to God, you might consider doing just the opposite. ;)

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

50 Responses to “12 Ways to Ensure Easter Attendees Don’t Come Back to Your Church Next Week”

  1. The article is listed under humor – take it as such….

    I have actually been to churches that did all of the above – or most of them anyway

  2. HA HA! THIS IS LIKE AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE!

  3. but is’nt that what happens in church every week!

  4. I’m sure this is the way Christ would want you to respond….wow, this is actually offensive and i dont’ get offended easy.

  5. Wow. I’m used to jokes, but this one is a bit too cold for even me. Bad taste.

  6. Paul,
    Where is your church? I have been looking for a church like yours.
    Here are some additional possible entries:
    – have a booth in the lobby with free income analysis and appropriate tithe calculations
    – all regular attendees arrive early to insure that all the “one and doners” will have to park way down the block
    – have your greeters ask everyone for prayer requests: “What sins are your dealing with that we can help you confess?”

  7. I was very disgusted and offended by the content of this email. Even though the last line was a turning point, it came way too late and I’m sure that if others stopped reading before they got to it, as I was tempted to do, then they received the wrong message. We should NEVER suggest such unChristlike behavior even through sarcasm.

  8. WONDERFUL! Nothing ‘Offensive’ here!
    The Lord Jesus LOVES Laughter!
    And ANYTHING that ‘GETS THE POINT ACROSS’ to HIS
    ‘Deaf’, ‘Dumb’, ‘Blind’, ‘Sound Asleep’, ‘Busy Doing Social Things’, or ‘We got-it-all-together, perfectly-organized, planned and scheduled down-to-the-minute, carefully-controlled’ Churches !

    LISTEN CHURCHES !

  9. Offended????? Those who were offended by this need to calm down. Just because you don’t like something, there is no need to become offended by it.
    God has a sense of humor (proof: the duckbilled platypus, rap music, Donald Trump), so why don’t YOU?

  10. Kathleen Schroeder Apr 3, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    I’ve been to this church!
    While the content was hilarious, it struck some realistic cords. The “hints” seem totally bizarre, yet many churches habitually practice one or two of these points without realizing how harmful they are. Since this behavior will chase visitors away, just the opposite behavior will make visitors feel welcome and safe. Perhaps there’s a lesson hidden amongst the humor for each of us to learn.

  11. You’ve made your point! Whatever the reaction, people will remember how to turn people off in church.

    Unfortunately, there are people in some churches who react like this to new people. Shame on them. Fortunately, God has a huge heart of love for them too.

  12. I was a member of this church for years. I have since left and now go to a wonderful church. On another note, why are we so easily offended?

  13. Phyllis Blankenship Apr 3, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    i have read this and i too have been to this church .really didn’t know what to say until i read the whole thing..then i understood..

  14. Thanks to everyone who’s commented.

    To those of you who were offended, I apologize and hope you realize the article was intended to be funny and satirical. I’d love to know specifically what you found offensive. Perhaps we just have a different sense of humor, or perhaps some of these hit a little too close to home??? Never the less, your opinions are welcome and noted.

    Earnest – Funny stuff. Consider your suggestions #13, #14, & #15.

    Kathleen – You hit the nail right on the head.

  15. WOW! I dont know which is the funniest, the article or the “offended” peoples comments.
    It was humor, and if you dont find it as such, I suspect the old line applies..
    A struck dog always moans!
    I suspect someone needs to re-think the way they do church!

    Happy Easter!

    REJOICE! HE Lives!

  16. This is so unfortunately true about so many of today’s churches(not the actual sayings, but the underlying theme).
    Even Christians need to be able to laugh. Laughing is “making a joyful noise unto the Lord”.
    Anyone that is offended by this may need to get down on their knees andhave a long, serious talk with the Savior about reinforcing their weak faith.
    Be blessed, one and all.

  17. Ed Cox said it well. Many of our churches have begun to look and act like businesses rather than houses of worship. The ones that complain the most are, many times, the ones that recognize themselves in the parody.
    Just remember that the only one we have to impress is Jesus Christ and we do that through serving him with all our heart and soul.

    Having a storefront church, I have heard many similar comments from the people that make up our congregation. Ours are the ones that have been shamed, shunned, and disappointed by traditional churches. Don’t be offended by Paul’s joke. Use it to look inside your faith and inside your church.

    Perhaps you will find a message from God in these writings.

    May the Lord continue to fill you with His Spirit.

  18. you can also add this..
    If you are a regular member a tither etc..etc don’t give up your seat let them stand up .fell that you are the most important person in that church.

  19. very nicely put. I think I will print it off and hand it out to my parishoners.

  20. Okay, I am not sure how this is offensive to people. My only guess is that it may hit too close to home?

    The truth is, we ALL need to be more sensitive and active in reaching out to people who are not used to attending church…after all 70% of America has no regular church affiliation of membership. When they come in we need to reach out to them.

    Better yet, why wait for them to come to the church (building), why aren’t we (the church) going out to them? We are the light, yet we wait for the blind to find us?

  21. Dear Sir, its nice to see this. but if you want to tell the love of Jesus, wemust love the people and make a friendship, then only we can conquer the mind of people.
    Love thy people and tell the love of Jesus.
    It will work. Normally people not yet understood the love of Jesus. Its our duty to share the love of Jesus, whenever time comes in our hand.
    Have a raisen Christ in your life, then everthing will be allright.

  22. I didn’t think it was funny, at all. Mostly because I didn’t even know it was a joke until i read what others were saying…..It’s still kind of startling to me because I haven’t found a “HOME” church because of the fact I am afraid I would be treated like that.

  23. Debbie Woerndell Apr 3, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    I thought it was humerous. I do believe in God and I have accepted Jesus as my Personel Savior. Right now I am in the process of finding a Church Home. I was going to a Church and they kicked some people that have been in that Church for 30 yrs off the Church role and also he was a Decon of the Church and I am 47 yrs old and I have never seen a Church do this before for disageeing about the Music. I have been a Baptist all my life and this just stunned me. Also it was a bad influence on my Spouse cause he changed from Methodist to Baptist. He said Methodist never kicked ppl. out of a Church either. You know we are all sinners and none of us are perfect so does this mean if I don’t behave a certain way or talk a certain way that I’ll be kicked out also. Also I wrote a Easter Book and was making it for the Mobile Home Park that I live in and at a Bible Study I showed it to the Pastor cause he asked to see it. When I went to leave I went to hug the Pastor’s wife by and she just stood there with no emotion. So I think that we are no longer Welcome…
    Please if you have any comments are suggestions Please email me at, dwoerndell@hotmail.com Thank you Debbie Woerndell

  24. Bob Armstrong Apr 4, 2007 at 7:51 am

    Debbie hit on a very important point when she stated that ppl were kicked out of the church for complaining about the music. The church that we now attend, but not for long, until we can find a home church, has the most loud, rock style praise that we have heard. When I talked to the Pastor, who has been preaching for 40 years, he told me that some seniors had already left the church because of the music and for those who don’t like the music, they can go too because he will not have the music of the 70′s praise and worship in his church anymore. To quote him, he said, “It ain’t gonna happen”. He also has the praise and worship leader play while he is preaching, drowning out his very important points of the msg. He told me he would have him to stop playing so loud during the msg but it has happened only one time so far….

  25. I’ve got another one to add to the list:
    “Take everything too serious so that all of your visitors will realize that they are not capable of attaining your level of worship.”

    Now come on guys if we are truly offended by someone pointing out to us some of the common problems that we face weekly in our services, we need a reality check. God didn’t call me to the ministry to be pius and holier than thou, he called me to love Him, love my students, and have fun while doing both. Our attitudes as christians is what turns so many people away from God, not humor. Humor is one of many tools to engage people to be serious.

    Loosen up, have fun, and love God always!

  26. I have one more:

    Be sure to have an Easter breakfast and make sure all the church folks sit with their friends and not bother the newcomers.

  27. Read your message and the replies and found it all quite humorous. Needless to say, but all so true. I can see this is helping people air , where they have been hit. May they be healed. This is also not a time in His Story to cover up the truth, but to face certain facts, for if it were Jesus speaking, He would not have put it so nicely and kindly, Read Matthew 23!

  28. Very thought provoking which is great because not thinking is the problem. Remember what it’s like to be invisible or in the way or getting hard sell? I know when someone has cared enough about me and went out of there way for my sake. It’s been said that each time a person walks through our doors it is a sign that God is working in their life. I hope to make that experience one they leave feeling God lives at our church.

  29. I get it. Don’t understand the people who were offended by it. Our Resurrection services changed after one year after i said that we would not have a egg hunt,pass out candy,have a bunny skit, or kids fashion parade during morning worship or have “easter” speeches at a evening service, and that my wife,kids and I would either dress casual or wear old clothes

  30. Well, I would have to say that this was entertaining stuff…folks do not lose sight of what happens in any organization…corruption…the only difference will be the varying levels and degree it will be allowed to escalate…business is business whether it is a church or the local legal office…profit is the goal…this in turn creates corruption…why can’t we all just love each other and have “church” everywhere we go…everyday…share the peace…live & love with “him”, “her”, “them”, you know the one that brings you “spiritual peace” & enables you to share agape love for all?

  31. John Deva Kumar Apr 9, 2007 at 4:16 am

    It can have disastrous effect if someone does not read the last line.Days are evil and satan can misuse the contents of the message.Better avoid such humours.They can be written under Humour column and not as a general one

  32. Come on everybody!!!!!!!!!! Group Hug!!!!

  33. As soon as I read the introduction I knew where this was going. The only offensive thing about this article is the fact that their really are churches like this and worst is that their will be lost people who read this and dont think it is funny because they went to a church that did 7 out of 12 of those things. I thought it was very funny. I can see why someone may be offended by this after all they p[robably go to a chruch like this and we many times get offended by the bible, Jesus, and preachers when they step on our toes.

    God bless all of you and we definately are to have a sense of humor we are to have Joy in our Lord. Also the bible says not to joke without it being fit or without a purpose (this I believe has a purpose). Sometimes we become too holy for our own good. EXample?

    A boy went to church and was kicked out by the deacon because he did not fit into that church, he didnt look holy nor was he dressed appropriate for church. When he went outside he seen Jesus sitting on the steps. The boy said, “Jesus I dont understand why I am not allowed in the chruch” Jesus looked at him and responded, “Fret not child they won’t let me in either.”

  34. very…very funny. Good post Paul.

  35. As one of the Lord’s chosen, I felt a deep sadness at the reality of these words.
    Having been abused,rejected,ignored and unloved by every institutional church I ever attended over the past twenty years,I have little desire to ever return.
    The Emergent church seems to be more like the Biblical church.
    I am over cliques,pecking orders and favouritism which have robbed me of fellowship with the brethren?
    Faith without works is dead.

  36. Unfortunately all too true in too many churches. I have vistied several much like this – and never went back. I agree with the comments that those who took offense at this article may have not seen the (unfortunately not humorous) truth or may be part of a “Christian Country Club For Christians Only” type of church.
    Doesn’t the whole New Testament push/proclaim to notion that our Lord wants us to “feed the hungry, clothe the poor, etc.”?
    Come on, people, get at DOING what our Lord commanded us to do!

  37. Isn’t it great that we can laugh and not take ourselves too seriously. We need an objective view of ourselves. Humour (UK spelling) and even humor (USA spelling) can be good medicine.

  38. How can anyone read this and believe it, take it to heart, or be offended by it? Really need to lighten up folks.

  39. Pastor Jerry Thomas Oct 31, 2009 at 10:53 am

    To those offended by this article: GET OVER IT. Many churches have become this way as well as becoming “businesses” instead of churches.

    As an evangelist, I have seen many of these types of attitudes all around the country. I have been told “there is no way YOU are going to preach in OUR church. You have long hair, tattoos, and you wear a biker’s vest to preach. There is NO WAY you can be a Christian like that, let alone be a preacher.”

    Those that are offended by articles like this need to get down on their knees, apologize to God for offending HIM, and ask HIM to show them the way to be a true follower.

    Want a real church? Follow Jesus and do what you are told to do by the Holy Spirit.

  40. God Bless everyone, I was truly inspired by Paul’s emails. It seems a few are too “starched” to blend humor and God. Our mandate from Jesus Christ is “Go Ye Into The World” not become part of the world. We are to be Watchmen and messengers. Here is something to ponder, why most of the cities there are zillion churches and the crime rate is just as high. The church should be the center of the community and the community center. Not a place to house the saved, but to treat the unsaved. When was the last time your church went to a jail, prison, nursing home or hospital? How about this, when was the last time the church had a evangelistic event like giving out tracts in the neighborhood. After reading John 3, read Matthew 28:19-20, then check out Ezekiel 33. Some the churches and leaders have become complacent. God Bless this site and God bless you for allowing me to share.

  41. Enjoyed the post. Ever heard of larknews.com? It occasionally has some funny satirical stuff too. It's good to laugh at ourselves from time to time.

  42. Offended? Give me a break!

  43. Rev. Chuck Scroggs Apr 12, 2011 at 11:58 am

    And old saying about being offended: "Throw a rock into a pack of dogs and the one that gets hit will bark the loudest!" I heard some barkers in these coments with their "Corrective spirit" on how this shouldn't have been written. As a past evangelist who has been in many churches this is to true to be "corrected!"

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Swap Blog » Blog Archive » How to insure Easter Visitors DON’T come back - Apr 3, 2007

    [...] Paul Steinbrueck from over at OurChurch.com has a very funny and sadly honest post up about how to insure irregular and first time church visitors do NOT come back. It is meant to cause both a laugh and a thought so give it a read. Full Post Here Swap This These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  2. » 12 Signs Your Church is Trying Too Hard to Make Its Christmas Eve Service Appealing to Visitors - Dec 6, 2007

    [...] Easter Humor [...]

  3. Tweets that mention Our 2nd most popular post ever...12 Ways to Ensure Easter Attendees Don’t Come Back to Your Church Next Week - -- Topsy.com - Mar 29, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eastside Lutheran, David Rolles. David Rolles said: RT @OurChurchDotCom: Our 2nd most popular post ever…12 Ways to Ensure Easter Attendees Don’t Come Back to Your Church Next Weekhttp://bit.ly/bWQig3 [...]

  4. 31DBBB – Day 2: Write a List Post « Christian Web Trends Blog - May 4, 2010

    [...] 12 Ways to Ensure Easter Attendees Don’t Come Back to Your Church Next Week [...]