Below is an interesting article about people who come to church twice a year. I find the thoughts about Barna Research interesting, fewer people are coming to church and fewer Christians are inviting people to church. One of the things we struggle with in the emerging post-church culture is how to engage people with the Gospel. The number of people who go to, and support church, are dwendling. Those who are life long church goers are getting older and dying, while many people simply do not find church to be relevant to their lives. Whatever the cause, church attendance across all denominations and non-denominations is dwendling. The old order of things is passing away, a new order will emerge. We are living in a time of historic shift, a time not unlike the Reformation. Society and church are in upheaval, change is rapid and it can be scary. We have hope.r. The church belongs to Jesus, he is leading us in these times of rapid change and fear. Let us keep our eyes on him, follow him where he goes and not be afraid of the future; our future or the future of the church!  He is Risen!

Chreasters, By Craig Cable

"Church leaders and volunteers all over the country are once again scurrying to prepare for the big day-Easter-the single most celebrated day by Christians all around the world. In a matter of days, church attendance will swell by 40 to 50 percent as people make their token appearance at church. This phenomenon will be repeated at the end of the year as those same people emerge from their homes to grace the doorways of churches all across the country to celebrate Christmas. I like to call these seasonally influenced Christians "Chreasters."

However, churches may be seeing less of an influx than in years past. Barna Research recently published a study that stated, "Less than one-third of born-again Christians are planning to invite anyone to join them at a church event this Easter season."
Regardless of who shows, we in the church roll out the red carpet and welcome these guests in the sincere hope they'll return and join us every week. Unfortunately, most won't be back regularly.

Some may contend that America is losing its faith or that most Americans just aren't interested in a growing relationship with Jesus. According to another Barna study, however, 64 percent of the population is completely open to pursuing their faith in an environment or structure that differs from that of a typical church. And 75 percent of the population believes that God is motivating them to connect with him through different means and experiences than were common in the past. Given that, I'd like to suggest four ways you can capture the Chreaster crowd.

Go to them. You've heard it before: location, location, location. Retail-user studies show that, on average, people will drive three miles or less to get to a grocery store. Why? Because anything outside of three miles is inconvenient. Rather than expecting people to drive to your church, why not create ministry intersection opportunities on their turf?

Offer times that fit people's schedules. Weekends are busy. Between soccer games, grocery shopping, laundry, and house cleaning, there isn't much time for anything else. Rather than forcing people to fit their schedules around your service times, why not offer times that don't compete? Who knows? Maybe lunch time would be the ticket.

Recognize that there's such a thing as too big and too small. A common complaint I hear from Chreasters is that they feel invisible at church. They feel they're nameless, faceless people in the crowd and no one really knows them, their struggles, or their needs. On the flip side, they're not exactly beating down the doors to be in small groups where they can build more interpersonal connections. It's time to explore formats that offer a welcoming environment, small enough to allow people to be known without seeming exclusive or "clubby."

Practice listening more than speaking. Regardless of where people are on their faith journeys, they're going to have questions. Even Jesus' disciples had significant questions, and Jesus took the time to listen and respond to them. Why have we created environments that require people to listen passively and keep their questions to themselves? What's more, only a third of our people are auditory learners, which means that two-thirds of our audience may not be listening at all. Let's create opportunities for people to respond and be a part of the conversation. It will help us build relationships with them, and it will help them grow in their faith."

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