Easter is the most profound holiday on the Christian calendar, because Easter separates Christianity from other religions, in that we are serving a living savior. I think Easter is everything that Christmas wants to be, because Easter celebrates Christ with about 99.3% less commercialism. Easter is also one of the days that the passive believer (or unbeliever) goes to church.
If you are a leader within the church, it is a safe bet that you saw faces today that you have never seen before, or at least haven’t seen since last Easter. I am sure that you rolled out the red carpet, made sure that everything was perfect, and presented the top shelf worship set or sermon. I hope that this Easter saw people make decisions to follow Christ either for the first time or for the first time in a long time. With that, I want to lay out some challenges for both the passive church goer who felt a sense of obligation to come to church because it was Easter, as well as the leaders within the church.
Hey you. Yeah, the guy who only comes on Christmas Eve and Easter. It was good to see you this morning, and I am glad that you decided to come, but I want to ask you a question. Why do you come to church twice a year? Is it out of a sense of obligation, guilt, or tradition? Not to be too brash, but do you think that when you are face to face with Jesus, do you think telling him that you could be counted on to be there with a smile and a semi-uncomfortable squirm every Easter and Christmas is going to cut it? One thing that I hope you got out of this morning is that Christ conquered death, sin, and hell because of his passionate love for you as an individual, and for humanity. So maybe its time that your relationship with Christ actually resembles more of a relationship than a practice in some sort of tradition or obligation. That would require finding a church to plug in and serve. So here is my challenge to you. Take 8 weeks and find a church…any church that you feel that you grow in your relationship with Christ.
Respectfully, reverend reader of my blog (and by the way, thanks for the read, I appreciate every person who takes the time to read what I am thinking and posting), I hope that you found your Easter services packed, and that God moved during your time of worship. I know that every church I drove by had packed parking lots. I know that every Facebook and Twitter post was touting their Easter successes. And for all of that I join you in the celebration and am now sending you a virtual high-five through the blogosphere (*high-five*). I have a hunch that you brought out the big guns. You made sure the service went off without a hitch, that the worship was on point, and that you absolutely put your best foot forward. Here is my question, the guys that you know you won’t see until either December or next April, what are you doing to reach out to those people. Your service was up around 50% (or so) today as compared to every other service, but Easter should not be a culmination of anything, but a launching point into reaching out to those who only come on Easter or Sunday morning. Here is a question…out of all of the unfamiliar faces that you saw from the pulpit, how many conversations did you have with those faces after the services? How many lunch meetings did you set up with those people, so you could get to know them better…get to know how the church could minister to their needs. This a tough proposition to be sure, because the people who come twice a year are content on only coming twice a year, but that doesn’t mean we should be content with these people. Our calling is to reach these people and get the one sheep that is lost and return them to the flock.
Those are my thoughts and my challenges for Easter, and the coming weeks. I know that we have tried a couple of different things at Journey Fellowship Church to reach out to those who only come twice a year. It’s messy and our results remain to be seen, but that is our calling.