Yyou know what “the C&E crowd” is, right? It is pastor code for the people who only attend church for Christmas and Easter. These guests present a challenge to church leadership because everyone wants them to attend more often, but no one seems to have a solution.
It could be true that most of these guests have never come to faith in Christ. It may be such adult attendees are merely repeating with their children the pattern of their own childhood. It may be such young adult attendees are mollifying one parent or the other to keep peace in the family. Perhaps Christmas and Easter are the final touch points of a dwindling faith. Or, there could be other reasons entirely.
I think we do well to remember our Easter guests likely think a large percentage of other attendees also only come to church on Easter. Guests do not know who is a guest and who is regular. The range of guests’ emotions goes from indifference to discomfort to paranoia.
If your are a church leader you might give thought to this: if every Easter brings the same songs, same skits, same sermon, same virtually everything, some might think you are a one-trick pony. Maybe show them something different. Give them reasons to wonder whether Christmas and Easter are really all they need.
Since we can debate forever how to get these particular attendees to return between Christmas and Easter, here are five ways to ensure they never return.
1. Fill the announcements and your sermon with insider comments about the church.
Most Easter guests already know they are on the outside. Keep them away by emphasizing just how far outside they are from the “fellowship” of your church. Keep the outsiders out with obscure references about the church’s life. If you refer to a member from the pulpit make sure to use only their first name as if everyone should know who he or she is.
2. Make reference to “the C&E crowd.”
There is no criticism like criticism from the stage. Be sure–on one of the two Sundays they will attend–to brand them publicly and negatively. The more times you can mock the fact that some people only come to church for weddings, funerals, Christmas and Easter the less likely they’ll listen to the parts of the sermon that may actually contain some gospel.
3. Provide no help in navigating your campus.
Ushers and greeters should be preoccupied with determining who has never been (one cannot hear that too much) rather than a simple, “Can I help you?” Repeated asking, “Is this your first time at our church?” does not make one feel at home. It drives home the reality that they stand out just by showing up.
4. Make sure your guests know it is not okay to just check things out.
The more difficult you make it to get basic information about the church the less likely they are to come back. Make sure your website is not up to date. Check to see that your church Facebook page does not mention any recent activity. Do not publish office phone numbers and email addresses. Give them the impression they should already know everything.
5. Use a greeting style that singles them out as different.
Have them sit while everyone else stands (providing a bird’s eye view of protruding guts and hind parts). Have them stand while everyone else sits (giving them an immediate reason to never return). Have them raise a hand to receive some kind of visitor card (and make them wonder if the church SWAT team plans to show up unannounced). Generally, make them feel like all eyes are on them.
Anything else we can do to make sure they do not return?Read More »
Working at a publishing house and writing for myself means I tend to pay attention to more than my fair share of grammar. I personally am not a grammar cop, nor do I play one on TV, but I have a lot of friends who proudly display the badge.
Surely the cruelest of all ironies is the idea that the abortion-on-demand somehow strikes a blow for women’s rights. Such thinking is a bleeding wound in our national conscience and logical incoherence on the part of radial pro-abortionists.
This is not a full review of Noah though I’ll offer a few review thoughts at the bottom of this post.
Primarily I hope to contrast the major storyline departures of the movie with the Noah narrative in the Old Testament and references in the New Testament. There were also several significant scenes I think illuminate the text in helpful ways. This list is not exhaustive. This post contains multiple spoilers.
The Noah movie opens today to a confusing chorus of Christian voices. Some say, “Go,” while others say, “No.” Some say, “Good,” while others say, “Heresy.”
The atomic bomb blast you heard a few hours ago was the announcement in Christianity Today that “World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.”
Race and culture are still sticking points for many. People live with a fear of offending, unsure when a joke may be taken wrongly. This is sad to me.
Who has not at some point heard the plaintive wail of some adult, “The music kids listen to these days…” This is normally accompanied by an exhale and shaking of the head. It is as if the world will end at any moment.
In every generation.
What is the best music ever made? That which blared away during our formative years. Sometimes it is the music our parents loved. For others parental music drove them in an different direction.
Mr. Matthew McConaughey was awarded the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar Sunday night for his performance in the AIDS-themed movie Dallas Buyer’s Club. Almost immediately his acceptance speech sent social media ablaze with condemnation. Why? Because he talked about God too much. Or, he did not talk about God the right way. Or, the fact that he was thanking God for opportunities that may have included acting in raunchy movies.