Most churches use “big days” at least a few times a year. When they are used correctly, they can be greatly beneficial to a church. For example, they can prompt church members to think strategically about the lost and invite their neighbors to church. Big days can be the catalyst that encourages members who would otherwise be pew warmers to get involved in ministering to others.
There are several times a year that lend themselves to big days, such as Mother’s Day, Resurrection Sunday, and Christmas to name a few. Here are some ideas that I have found to be helpful when preparing a sermon for a big day:
1. Cut out most announcements and shorten the song service.
2. Keep it short. They don’t need a drawn out sermon. They simply need to hear how to be saved.
3. Keep it personal. “If you and I were the only ones in this room, here is what I would say…”
4. Keep it intense. “If I had 20 minutes on worldwide television or 5 minutes with a dying man, here’s what I would say…”
5. Have a visual aid. I often use a wordless book and/or bridge illustration to wrap it up. I have used a gift wrapped package to represent salvation. I have even used a wordless Easter basket.
6. Don’t be reluctant to preach the Romans Road. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to keep it simple.
7. Endear their hearts at the beginning. “We may have many differences—automobiles, favorite foods, places of birth, etc.—but we do have two things in common: We are all going to die, and we all want to go to Heaven.”
8. Somewhere in the message, give your salvation testimony. Be sure to include what, when, and where.
9. Make the gospel message so clear that someone could get saved in their seat without walking an aisle. Although it would be wonderful if every lost person came forward and was dealt with one on one about salvation, the reality is that some people will stay in their seat and not come forward. The preacher’s job is to present the gospel so clearly that even those who do not talk to an altar worker can get saved in their seat, or after they have gone home as the Holy Spirit continues to draw them to Christ.