• Micah Hayes

An Open Letter to Those Who Only Attend Church on Easter

Dear Easter Attender,

I’m glad you’re here today. No, really, I am. I know our pastor is going to stand up and say that from the stage because that’s what he’s supposed to do, but we really do mean that. We get excited seeing new faces in our church, which explains some of the awkwardness that’s coming your way. You will be ambushed with smiles and handshakes. You may even get a few sidehugs. But please don’t mistake our friendliness for fakeness. We might come on a little strong sometimes, but that’s because we want to make sure you feel welcomed.

Look, let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room. You haven’t been here since Christmas. Church isn’t a part of your regular routine. If you were totally honest, being in church today makes you a little uncomfortable. Maybe you showed up for your mom or grandmother. Or maybe you’re here because you feel like it’s the right thing to do. You grew up coming to church on Easter, and you would feel guilty if you stopped. Or maybe you genuinely want to be more involved in church, and the holiday was a good time to make that step.

Whatever your reason for being here today, please know this: we aren’t judging you. Some people criticize and poke fun at holiday church attenders. I’ve even heard some pastors do it from the pulpit. That’s not cool, and it certainly wouldn’t make me want to be a part of that church. We aren’t going to do that today. In fact, we don’t judge anyone who’s outside of the church (meaning they aren’t a member). Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:12, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” We judge our own members, which means we believe we have the responsibility to hold one another accountable in a loving, Christ-like way.

So it’s not our job to condemn you or make you feel less than us. We may look really nice and clean on the outside today, but on the inside, we are messed-up sinners. And we know it. That’s why we’re here. As Jesus said, “It’s not the healthy that need a doctor, it’s the sick.” Every time we walk through these doors, we are admitting that we have a huge problem and need help. We desperately need God’s grace, and the reason we keep coming back is because we’ve found it. It’s not in a fancy building or a pastor or a holiday. It’s found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Without him, we would have no hope and no reason for living. But with him, we have all we need, including forgiveness, joy, and eternal life.

We want you to have him too. That’s why we’re excited you’re here. We want everyone to know the love that Jesus has for them. But we don’t just want to give you Jesus and send you on your merry way. We really want you to join us. We want you to see that there’s more to our church than this hour-long service.

Sunday mornings are great because that’s when we worship God together, and holidays are special because of what they represent, but that’s not all we are. We’re a family. Like a family, we believe we have a unique bond that unites all of us into one body. We may all come from different places and from different generations, but what we have in common is far greater than our differences. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. I know, I know, it sounds kind of cheesy and hokey. It’s that church lingo stuff again.

But seriously, we’re a family. We love each other. Sure, we have our problems. We are a work in progress. We have disagreements, preferences, and even a few crazy uncles. But every family does. What makes our love great is that we lay all that aside for one another. We willingly give up our selves for the sake of a bigger calling.

Both of my grandmothers are in heaven. My mom and dad and sisters all live about four hours away. But if you look around these pews, I’ve learned to call these people family. That lady over there in the purple dress, lots of people call her Granny. She’s in the nursery almost every Sunday and is one of the godliest people you will meet. That guy with the bright blue tie on, he’s left work to help me fix two flat tires. He’d run through a wall for you if you asked. And that one lady in the choir, the one that’s always smiling, she lost her husband to cancer a few years ago. She has personally prayed for and encouraged so many people in this church I’ve lost count. I could go on and on. There are so many people here who have impacted my life. People I’ve cried with, laughed with, and been challenged by.

Look, we know we aren’t the coolest place around. We have some rough edges. If you’re looking to be entertained or waited on, you’re in the wrong place. That’s not why we do this. We don’t have a hip coffee bar or a light show on stage. We don’t have door prizes or free food (our big potluck is at Thanksgiving). But what we do have, you just aren’t going to find it anywhere else. It’s community. It’s real people committed to loving each other no matter what. It’s people who are more concerned with God’s glory and other’s well-being than their own.

You can be a part of this. But let me warn you. It’s more than just showing up. It’s more than walking an aisle and signing a card. It’s messy. It’s time consuming. And it’s costly. In fact, you’re gonna have to give up everything. But I promise, and so does Jesus, it’s worth it.

Welcome to our church,

An honest church member

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