by Tom Goodman
December 9, 2015
Some call them "Chreasters," and with sarcasm.
I first ran across the term a couple of years ago, and it was in reference to persons who only seem to show up for church services at the seasons of Christmas and Easter -- thus "Chreasters." Throughout my ministry years I've heard the
criticisms of those who so infrequently attend.
But here's one pastor hoping to start a friendship with a few Chreasters this Advent season.
Now, is it sufficient to worship with God's Family only once or twice a year? Of course not. Christ expects us to connect with a congregation and invest ourselves in the fellowship and ministry offered there. A local church isn't
like a restaurant that you occasionally patronize when you're in the mood for its cuisine.
So, why do I have room in my heart for Chreasters -- and why should you? Tony Woodlief hit the nail on the head in an article for World magazine. He wondered if the attendance of some Chreasters might indicate an undefined longing for an
encounter with God:
Chreasters come though it doesn't fit their routine. They come, in spite of the discomfort in not belonging. They come because something draws them -- a faint sense of holiness evoked by the season, or because we are more inviting, or for
the music, or maybe because the baby Christ [at Christmas] and the murdered Christ [at Easter] are images they can relate to best in their fear and need. They come, with their doubts and their poor attendance records, and somewhere, most
importantly, the hope that it isn't all just a myth, that the baby was and is Immanuel, God with us.
In other words, we welcome Chreasters because we believe we should start with people wherever they are spiritually and then encourage them to move up to where they need to be.
To that end, this holiday season I hope you'll invite your Chreaster friends to Hillcrest. Invite them to this Sunday's musical program at 10, where the meaning of Christmas will be explained and celebrated. Or invite them to our annual
Christmas Eve service at 6 pm. There's more information at www.hillcrest.church.
Just like the Wise Men of old, Chreasters seek him. We're here to help.
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