Easter Egg Hunters

If I was more pious, I would say that my favorite part of Easter was all of the people that inevitably came to know Christ during that season.

But I'm not.

And my favorite part has always been the Easter egg hunt. My sister and I used to have an annual hunt with two of our cousins that was the absolute highlight of the spring. It was a rather socialist Easter egg hunt in that the eggs were divided evenly afterward regardless of who collected what. But that's what made it great because every egg was different.

Some had the obligatory Cadbury eggs and jelly beans, others a Peep bunny, some even had circus peanuts, not to mention everyone’s favorite: the dollar bill egg. Of course, there was at least one hard-boiled egg. And while I loved these equally (and even more so as an adult), the only downside to the hunt was if you happened to crack a not-quite-hard-boiled egg. That could wreck your day as a kid. As well as all your candy. Good thing Christians aren't as difficult to make as hard-boiled eggs. Cause that could get messy.

photo credit: maxiadrian photography via photopin cc
One of the dirtiest words I've learned since moving to the Midwest is "Chreasters." It's a term that denotes people who only go to church on Christmas and Easter. You know who they are. And it's like those poor suckers have bullseyes painted on their backs.

Because the evangelical church is rabid when it comes to converts. They see people like that, and they immediately feel "moved of the spirit" to lead them to the cross before another Easter gets away from them. In short, they feel called to make them their ministry.

I have to confess that I've felt this way about people before. And for those who know my wife, you'll expect that this earned me a well-deserved eye roll. As much as Christians are called to preach the word and make disciples, we've ended up disregarding people and making the word "ministry" cheap and tawdry.

It's kind of like what's happened to the word "religion." Religion was just another innocuous word used to describe the articles of faith. And many in the church today insist that this should remain the case. But we all know that it has come to connote all that's wrong with legalistic, liberty-impeding faith. Phrases like "relationship, not religion" abound, and the word has been denigrated to nearly derogatory status in younger evangelical circles.

Context is fluid, and language has been decoupled from etymology. So it shouldn't surprise us that the word "ministry" would undergo a similar metamorphosis. Especially when the church populates its meaning with people.

I'm sure clarification is order at this point. I am not suggesting the church need arrest its desire to make disciples nor curb its passion for souls. But I am suggesting that modern methods of evangelism have objectified people. When one of the informal social activities of your church's youth meetings is comparing convert numbers, there's a perspective problem. And while we can't lose our compassion for the eternal well-being of others, we need to stop treating unbelievers like potential notches in our prayer closets.

Paul never mentioned a "most converted" crown, so let's stop running the race for the wrong reasons. It's people who need Jesus. And the sooner we realize that, the sooner we'll stop trying to crack open unhatched believers and make some friends for the kingdom.