C-and-E Christians

When I write my Christmas letter each year and start making the list of people to send it to, something funny happens. A lot of people make that list who never cross my mind in months that aren't December. The Christmas letter goes out to people from workcamps two years ago, and old friends who I promise in the card that I will be better about keeping in touch this year.

My friends want more than this from me. My relatives do too. Yet somehow, another year will go by and for easily half the people on my Christmas list, they will not hear from me between cards.

In two days, on Christmas Eve, the Church of St. Michael and St. George will reserve seats for people who need to be there, such as clergy members' families, because if the seats are not reserved they will not be available. The building will be full at all three services. This will happen around the country as well. For one magical day, God will be worshiped from every seat in the sanctuary.

But on Christmas Day, which this year falls on a Sunday, CSMSG is planning for a very sparse worship attendance, holding just one service and planning for 300 people or less. The very next day, after a day of record attendance, the near-empty church will echo.

What example does this set? How can anyone ask why youth drain from churches through every seam they can find when adults are making the twice-yearly pilgrimage to church and then disappearing? Maybe, during the rest of the year, churches should offer to supply Tivo boxes to their members so the football games can be taped and the fans can come to worship.

On the way to Toronto this past summer, a student asked me if people who come to church once or twice a year still go to Heaven. I replied that they did, so long as their belief in Christ was genuine, because that is the standard set in the Bible. At the same time, it would make youth ministry so much easier if there were a special sanctuary for people who come all the time, and our students couldn't see the difference in a congregation size between an ordinary Sunday and Christmas Day. In the end, I believe this is a big factor in a student's decision that the minimum is good enough for Jesus.

No comments: