This Sunday is Easter, and when you look around your church, you’re going to get that uncomfortable feeling that comes from being around all kinds of people you haven’t seen in a while, or perhaps never before. You know, the slackers who only show up at church twice a year, the backsliders who haven’t been to church in five years, and the heathens who wouldn’t know the Pentateuch from a pentagram.
They’re going to take your favorite pew, sit and stand at the wrong times during the service, and double your wait in the coffee line after the service.
You don’t want to have to put up with those distractions and inconveniences week in and week out, so here are 12 ways to ensure those people don’t come back the week after Easter.
1. Keep to yourself. Avoid eye contact. And by all means, don’t welcome anyone you don’t know.
2. Walk up to someone you haven’t seen for a while and say, “Hey, hey … Look who it is … You don’t think just showing up for Easter is going to get you out of the Big Guy’s doghouse, do you?”
3. Make sure all the greeters, ushers, singers, speakers and everyone involved in leading the service are all of the same ethnic background so that if anyone of a different ethnicity shows up, they know they are considered second-class citizens.
4. Take down all your signs so only the regulars know if a door leads to the pastor’s office, the ladies’ room or a broom closet.
5. During the service, have the pastor pray, “Lord, please forgive all those sinners who have failed to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”
6. Invite the worst singer in the choir to do a solo.
7. Find a way to tie the Easter message into a soliloquy on the Iraq War, and make it clear that everyone who disagrees with the pastor’s position is on the devil’s side.
8. During the service, ask all the visitors to stand and then introduce themselves to the entire congregation.
9. Announce that next week the pastor will begin a 12-week series on hell.
10. Put a sign up in the children’s ministry area that indicates you have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to volunteers with criminal records.
11. Just assume that everyone understands what communion is all about. Then when people start coming forward to receive communion, have the ushers quietly walk up to the “really big sinners” and ask them to return to their seats.
12. Announce that visitors must fill out a form with their contact information and should expect an elder-evangelist tag team waiting in their driveway when they get home.
Of course, if you actually care about guests and irregular church attendees because you believe they matter to God, you might consider doing just the opposite.