It’s easy to be annoyed at those folks, as if they are not our “real” congregation. But take the 30,000 foot view and notice something: at least twice every year, those folks are probably dependably going to be in our community. Their needs and interests are different, but longitudinally, they are valuable participants in the life of our church.
So, as our church prepares for Christmas Eve, maybe it’s time to think about those Christmas/Easter folks (aka ChrEasters) in a new light. Here are five things to consider:
Visitors to our Christmas Eve service are hoping for:
1. BREVITY – to really engage non-church people, our Christmas Eve service will be shorter and specifically targeted for the irregular attenders.
2. MEANING - the sermon will contextualize and make relevant the birth of Jesus.
3. NOSTALGIC FULFILLMENT – most everyone loves candles and greenery, the solemn singing of Silent Night. We will be investing in making the Sanctuary beautiful and the worship service bright!
4. VALUE FOR THE CHILDREN – parents bring children to church because they were brought to church. They want their children to experience something of value and to be valued by those in attendance. We'll be having an open Christmas procession and manger scene. All children will be invited to participate and wear costumes.
5. FAMILIARITY – even if they’ve been away for years, it’s comforting to say a prayer they memorized in childhood or sing familiar songs. The songs we sing will be familiar.
For unto us, a child is born, unto us a son is given. The wonder of Christmas is the arrival of the unexpected. Let’s offer a welcome for all – the expected folks, the surprises, and the ones we haven’t seen since Easter. They are all a part of the family!