george_hancockstefanIn a cartoon a couple of years ago, there was a conversation between a parishioner who came to church only at Easter. He complimented the pastor for a good sermon, but mentioned that he hears the same sermon every year – the topic is always the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The pastor replied that if he would come more often, he would be glad to hear that the pastor is able to preach more than one topic.

All churches have what is known as the Christmas-Easter Christians. They are in our directories and we as pastors are very happy to see them. Many pastors review their directories to make sure that they are able to remember most of their congregants on these particular festive days. Many of the pastors are also very concerned that they do not place any guilt on those who visit the houses of the worship with rarity.

At the same time the church knows that the presence of the Christmas-Easter Christians remind the congregation of our poverty. We as congregations are spiritually poorer because these brothers and sisters are not coming with greater frequency to the house of the Lord. Their spiritual gifts that they have received when they became Christians are not being used to benefit the entire congregation. We would love them to commit to a greater participation.

Likewise, the Christmas-Easter Christians and their families are spiritually malnourished. We cannot imagine someone being healthy by eating only a couple of meals during the year. We cannot imagine someone drinking water only a couple of times during the year. The Christmas-Easter Christians and their family mistreat themselves of the graces and the blessings that the church has to offer for their well-being.

A couple of days ago, I was listening to one of my students talking about his Christmas-Easter church family. It was not until a neighbor challenged him to go to the church with greater frequency that the learned that his childhood was spiritual starvation. He considered himself a Christian, but he did not know any of the Bible stories, he did not have a relationship to God, he did not read the Bible or prayed, nor did he remember his parents doing any of these things. He and his parents lived a deception.

Around these holidays I am thinking what will happen if all the Christians that come for the Christmas festivity surrounding the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ will decide to come every Sunday for the coming year? Can we see the vitality that our churches and our families will have? Can we see the impact that we will have in our communities?

Therefore, my prayer for all the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ is that somehow we will minister to them so that we will see some of them if not all of them the following Sunday.

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...