Tomorrow is a big day as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a day when churches will be full. Many of those who attend do not plan to return until Christmas (unless they want to please mom on Mother’s Day), hence the title of CEOs (Christmas and Easter Only).
I have heard of pastors who say such things as “I want to go ahead and say Merry Christmas to you all since I won’t see some of you until next Easter.” Others have announced, “We do have services next Sunday, too.” Active attenders look down on the irregular attenders, convincing themselves that they have it all together because they attend church weekly.
When this is the treatment who give those who attend only on Easter, or other special days, why should we expect them to return? Here are some thoughts to make the guests at church tomorrow feel welcome and want to return. (These apply to any Sunday, too.)
Pray for those who will attend. If this is one of the few times they will attend and hear the Gospel message, pray that they are receptive to work of the Holy Spirit. Rather than condemning them for attending so irregularly, pray that they Lord will do a work while in the service that they will want to return more often.
Pray for your pastor. Pray that you pastor will clearly communicate the Gospel. Pray that his words are laced with grace and love.
Welcome them. Introduce yourself. Communicate how great it is to have them in attendance. Learn something about them. But do not remind them that you have services next week.
Let your worship be genuine. On special days, the trap is set that the worship service will be more for show than genuine worship. There is usually more people wanting to sing a special on days when the attendance is higher than are willing to do so on a “normal” Sunday. Choirs work extra on specific music for the special days. If the irregular attenders think you are putting on a show rather than worship, do not look down on them when they do not return.
Move out of your seat and parking place. Irregular attenders usually do not arrive early; rather, they are the ones that come in as the service has started. They circle the parking lot, then have to create their own place. Then they enter the worship center- and have to sit at the front and/or climb over multiple people to sit in the middle of the pew. It is no wonder they do not return!
Invite them to Sunday School. Irregular attenders often do not return because they do not have a personal connection that makes them want to return. However, research has repeatedly shown that over 80% of those who are in Sunday School return and stay. As you welcome them, tell them about your Sunday School class. Tell them where it meets. Offer to meet them outside. Then follow up on your invitation with the information you received when you welcomed them.
Every Sunday is a chance to move an irregular attender to a regular attender, but much of that depends on YOU! Don’t miss the opportunity.