Well, another Easter holiday has passed and many of us rejoiced in celebrating the anniversary of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. We remembered the day the stone was rolled away and Jesus’ followers found His tomb empty. A miracle had occurred — our Lord and Savior overcame death and, amazingly, again walked among His followers.
He charged them with the task that has come to be known as the Great Commission, or the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples that they spread His teachings to all the nations of the world.
Easter truly is a wonderful day of remembrance and celebration!
And let’s not forget about the other wonderful day of celebration in our Christian lives — Christmas. This celebration commemorates the birth of our Lord in a stable in Bethlehem on a clear, cool night so long ago, the fulfillment of prophecies and the hope of eternal salvation for all mankind. Every believer looks forward to and counts the days until the holiday’s arrival. Christmas and Easter really are special holidays to so many of us. How we look forward to them!
But wait a minute — maybe we are being way too self-focused. There are other things we think of, too, aren’t there? Now really! Give it some thought and really search your mind. Besides a gathering or family reunion, eating great food and celebrating, aren’t there some lingering, unanswered questions in the back of your mind, such as:
• Why are many churches filled to capacity on Christmas and Easter than at any other time except following a national or local disaster?
• How does that affect the preacher and what do they think about it?
• How many of these extra people are just at church on the two big Christian holidays because of tradition, family urging, expectations of others or for their children’s sake?
• How many of these people are “C and E Christians?” You know, the people who only attend church on Christmas and Easter.
How many of us have been “C and E Christians” at some point in our lives? What can we do and what should we do to change that?
And let’s not forget the most important questions of all: How many of those twice-a-year churchgoers are non-Christians celebrating the holiday? How many really don’t have a clue? How many, without a clear definition of truth and a guide to help them, are doomed to live lives void of Christ’s presence? How many won’t be saved?
We, as believers, must think about what we can do to change that. We must come up with a plan to reach out to those people.
The simple truth is that many people only attend church services at Christmas and Easter simply because that is how their lives always have been structured. Perhaps the habit is modeled on the routines of parents, families and others.
Of course people have a need for holidays in their lives and schedules. It often means time off from work. Some “C and E Christians” may only attend holiday services so others will think highly of them. Others only want to spend time with — or far from — their families. These people are a part of what our society has established over many years. No matter what their level of belief may be, the reality of these things is a plain, honest fact of life.
Another major truth is that a very high percentage of these “C and E Christians” and holiday non-believers have many unanswered questions themselves. We may not be aware of that because we haven’t had or taken the opportunity to approach them, speak with them and try to form productive relationships with them.
Many of them, for different reasons, are reluctant to come forward and admit how they feel or discuss questions about faith and values in their personal lives. They may have carried these feelings with them for years. Their inability to make a leap of faith may be a by-product of their childhood, family or marital values. Others also may feel their lives are going along just fine for now and believe only in the pleasures and rewards their earthly lives provides. There are a lot of reasons.
Many of these people are waiting for someone to reach out to them in Christian love, faith and patience. All it takes is one person who is willing to reach out and make new a disciple for Christ.
It is our Christian duty to first serve His kingdom to the best of our ability. There are so many who are wondering and waiting for their chance to know Him.
If you or someone you know is struggling with questions and answers about faith, a Stephen Minister can make a difference. The Stephen Ministry program is faith-based, totally confidential, gender-sensitive and free to anyone in need. Our counselors will walk with you — no matter how long it takes — on matters of faith and other areas of conflict and crisis. We are trained to help in so many ways, and we offer excellent referrals to other professional, community-help agencies when needed.
The Stephen Ministry is waiting for you to call 320-7840 to set up an appointment. The Stephen Ministry team in Liberty County is a part of First Baptist Church-Hinesville. To learn more about the global Stephen Ministry program, go to stephenministry.org.