My Last Easter as Your Senior Pastor

My Last Easter as Your Senior Pastor

I still remember my first Easter at Chapel Hill. It was April 3, 1988. (I didn’t actually remember the date! I had to look that up.) We were worshipping in what we now call the Memorial Chapel. Chapel Hill offered three services and packed the place out with more than 700 in attendance regularly. It was one of the most exciting moments of my young ministry life. I had never preached an Easter sermon and I couldn’t have been more excited. I remember buzzing with excitement the following week, it was so incredible. 

Little did I know that I would continue stepping back into the Chapel Hill pulpit for another 36 Easter Sundays. And even COVID didn’t stop us; our incredible tech team figured a way for us to come into your homes when you couldn’t come into ours. 

Well, this Sunday will be my last Easter as your Senior Pastor. I am both excited and nervous! Excited because, as always, thousands will fill our Sanctuary, many of whom do not yet know Jesus or do not have a church home. It is a wonderful opportunity to proclaim the greatest story ever told! And…I’m nervous because this is my last shot and I want to do a good job. I’m sure you can understand that. 

So, I’m going to ask you to do three things: PRAY, INVITE, and COME.  

PRAY that the Lord will work in our service through the music, the liturgy, and my message to bring unbelievers to faith and believers to greater depth. Pray that the Lord will give me the words to speak exactly what he wants me to say.  

Secondly, INVITE. If ever there is a time in the year when your friends and neighbors are open to an invitation, it is Easter. I have a neighborhood breakfast group to whom I sent a blanket email invitation to join us. Screw up your courage and invite that friend you’ve never invited before. What’s the worst that could happen? They say no? But who knows what God might do through your brave words! Get some inspiration to invite someone to church by listening to these stories from Chapel Hill members.  

And finally, COME! Come and be a part of this momentous gathering. And not just for Easter. I’d urge you to come tonight at 6:30 pm for Maundy Thursday. It is one of my favorite services of the year. The combination of silence, darkness, music, and sacrament…it’s incredibly powerful. 

Then, tomorrow, join us online for a Good Friday vigil of prayer running every three hours starting at 6:00 in the morning. Bookmark our YouTube channel here or sign up to receive notifications for each of the Good Friday videos here. We will conclude with an online worship service at 6:00 pm. 

On Saturday, join us at 2:00 pm in the parking lot for a 30-minute prayer walk around our campus. We will ask God to anoint that place and every person who walks through our doors with the power of his Holy Spirit.  

And then, Resurrection Sunday! We will join Mary, Peter, and John as we run to the empty tomb of Jesus and, hopefully, return home with a renewed sense of hope, inspiration, and amazement at the depth of God’s love for every one of us.  

Thank you for the privilege of 36 Easters in this sweetheart church. What a glorious run it has been! I hope you’ll join me for number 37…and bring a pew full of friends with you. 

Pastor Mark