In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, a C & E Christian is someone who declares to be a Christian but only attends church on the BIG Christian holidays – Christmas and Easter. C & E Christians account for the big jump in church attendance these two days out of the year.
I can think of many reasons a Christian might rarely attend church. For instance, maybe they’ve been hurt by a church or perhaps they’ve allowed the busyness of life to get in the way. But this is not what God intends.
God calls every believer to be actively and vitally involved in the life of a local church. He designed our faith to be corporate. Individual believers need the church and the church needs individual believers. Neither can be everything God purposes for us to be without the other.
Christians who don’t attend the same church regularly enough to be an integral part of the life of that church are missing out on much of what God has for them. Although I’m sure I could make a much longer list, the following four things quickly jumped to mind:
- Deep, loving relationships with other believers – God chooses to love, encourage, comfort, and support us through His people. Other Christians are His tools, His means of providing for us. When we aren’t around enough to develop those relationships we rob ourselves of so much that God wants to give us. (See 1 John 3:16-18, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, 1 Thessalonians 5:11.)
- The blessing of fulfilling service – The Holy Spirit reveals His presence in a unique way in the life of every believer. He may manifest Himself in one person through the gift of teaching, another through the gift of mercy, and still another through the gift of administration. These gifts are not intended for the individual but for the good of the church. It is only when we use our spiritual gifts to serve the body that we will find the blessing of fulfilling our God-given purpose. (See 1 Corinthians 12:4-7.)
- The full spectrum of spiritual growth – Individual believers need the church for equipping, edification, and teaching. We CANNOT do it by ourselves. We cannot grow to spiritual maturity without the support, resources, and accountability of the church (Ephesians 4:11-13).
- Protection from false teaching – A Christian on her own is vulnerable. We can easily wander without the stability of the church body. We are gullible and are prone to believe lies without the foundation of the teaching of the church (Ephesians 4:14).
Of course only the individual and God can determine this, but there is another very important thing a C & E Christian might be missing. An individual who claims to be a Christian but only attends the church to worship twice a year, may be missing out on a saving relationship with Jesus. A spiritually healthy Christian naturally wants to be connected with other Christians. If that’s not the case, something is seriously wrong.
Are you a C&E Christian? Have you felt you’ve been missing out? Do you know any C&E Christians? How can we encourage them to be an active part of Christ’s body?