There are some things that I’m sure run through the minds of every preacher, but they are suppressed by our better judgment before they are ever spoken. For me, one of those unspoken thoughts occurs every Sunday prior to Christmas. I always find myself suppressing the urge to say, “Good to see everyone today. I hope to see some of you again next Sunday, and for the rest of you, I’ll see you on Easter.” — (See why those thoughts need suppressing?)
While the problem of only attending church twice a year is a problem that should not be addressed in the above fashion, it is a problem that does need to be addressed. The “twice-a-year church goer” is so common place in our society that today’s Urban Dictionary has given such people a name. They’re called “CEO’s” (Christmas & Easter Only).
Don’t misunderstand, I’m thankful when people think of Jesus, even if it is only twice a year. They need to think of him more, but twice is a starting point. I don’t want to criticize their movement in the right direction, but I don’t want them to think that such shallow commitment is equivalent to discipleship and sufficient to please God.
Being a Christian is so much more than attending church services twice a year. It is total commitment. It is self-denial. It is sacrifice. It is a pattern to be lived so others may follow. It is a life lived in response to the death of an innocent caused by our negligence. It is a sacred trust of one’s life into the hands of God.
Upon reflection, how could anyone seriously think that “twice-a-year” is an appropriate response to the eternal redemptive working of God which culminated in the horrific death of His Son? How could anything less than our entire lives – all we have to offer – be an acceptable response to God? (Not that we can merit God’s gift, but rather show appreciation for it).
“Twice-a-year?” “CEO’s?” They need to be taught. They need to understand just how far this practice misses the mark. How do we do this, especially when they’re only present twice a year? Well, here’s a suggestion. This Sunday before Christmas, why not remind people of Jesus’ coming, but also remind them of his second coming? Why not preach about the “baby Jesus,” but also remind them that Jesus grew up and placed moral demands upon our lives? Why not talk about the helplessness of the babe in the manger, but also talk about the power and authority of the King of Kings. Why not remind people of the gifts brought to Jesus by the wise men, but also remind them of the gift that Jesus now gives to those who fully trust in him?
What I’m saying is start where they are, just like Philip did with the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:35), but take them farther than they realize they need to go. Use their interest in the birth of Jesus to introduce them to the “rest of the story.”
Very soon, our churches will be filled with CEO’s. What will we do with this opportunity? Certainly we must use “tact,” but not to the exclusion of “contact.” God’s word gives us the solution, “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15).