Easter Isn’t the End of the Story

by Guest Blogger Bryan Long

We had a wonderful Easter morning at Randall Church last Sunday! We saw 375 people come through our doors with almost 100 kids. Aside from the numbers, there was a buzz in the air as people welcomed each other. There was a new look to our signage and branding. There was a sense of excitement around the building. God is moving at Randall Church!

After big events like this, it is natural for us to pull back. The “event” is over so our job is done. But in the Biblical narrative, Easter isn’t the end of the story. Jesus then commissions His followers to be His “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) When it comes to “finding your place” OUTward, we are moving away from an event-based mindset to this lifestyle mindset. We use the word “Presence” to help communicate this. We believe every follower of Jesus is a missionary who is present with those in their corridor, workspace, and social circles to bear witness to Jesus in word and deed. Whether the people in your circles came to Easter or not, here are some easy-to-remember ways to be present:

1.     Prayer: We remember that it is God’s work to bring people to Himself. So, our first job is to join God is prayer for those we are present with. My street has become my primary place of presence. I have a Google Map picture of our street framed on my desk with neighbor’s names I have gotten to know. It is a way to remember my first responsibility.

2.     Care: Care is any way you can make yourself available. It can be as simple as listening, inviting people over for dinner, or helping shovel a driveway. I find intentional availability key to learning the needs of others. So, our family says yes to any invite we get from our street – even when we would rather stay home. We invite neighbors to dinners and parties. We hang out in the front yard more than the backyard. Last weekend a few kids came out to join us, then their parents came out, then other neighbors stopped by. By the time we knew it, 20 people were on our front yard. We were available and able to hear the needs of our community.

3.     Share: As we build relationships, we earn the right to speak into their lives. It’s sensing when the Holy Spirit brings about a “conversation bridge” to the Gospel. This could be a co-worker who is going through a hard time, a neighbor who shares a moment of vulnerability, or a friend whose parent is dying. At our spontaneous street party, I told the story from my sermon last week about Mia getting under someone else’s bedroom sheets. When I finished, someone from the group asked: “What was the point of your story?” Conversation bridge. I was able to share that in the season of Easter we celebrate the gift of access to the God between the sheets.

It was a wonderful Easter morning last week. But Easter isn’t the end of the story. It’s just the beginning...

Bryan Long


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