Thousands of congregations across the United States took part in "Back to Church" Sunday, a nationwide event focused on inviting the unchurched to worship.
Organized in part by Outreach, Inc., an organization formed in 1996 that seeks to provide churches with outreach products, an estimated 14,000 congregations signed on to participate on Sunday. Annually held since 2009, the national "Back to Church" Sunday event is organized with the purpose of witnesses to the unchurched.
Some churches committed to the "Back to Church" Sunday event noted mixed results for their efforts to reach out during the nationwide event.
The Rev. Rick Roth, head of The Meeting Place of York, Pa., told The Christian Post that his fledgling congregation did not notice an increase in attendees.
"We did not notice an increase because of Back to Church Sunday, but right now we are more focused on starting our church. We did not put much energy into Back to Church Sunday," said Roth.
"I would imagine next year we will try to utilize the event more to help people. We will be having a launch Sunday on Sept 23rd … We are a new church and are looking forward to what God has in store for us in the next year, and beyond!"
Leo Woodman, minister at Kittery Church of Christ in Kittery, Maine, told The Christian Post that he did notice more people in the pews.
"It went really well. There were a few extra. Some folks invited family members and friends," said Woodman. "We will probably do it again next year. That's standard now … we are working more on the friendship evangelism side of things. Reach out to people and make friends."
According to the website "National Back to Church," last year around 7,600 congregations signed up for the event.
"National Back to Church Sunday (www.backtochurch.com) is the single largest annual community outreach in the nation, sharing the simple message and mission of inviting everyone in America back to church," says organizers.
"The campaign empowers churches and church members with the tools they need to welcome their neighbors, friends and loved ones back to church, while providing the unchurched an easy way to find a welcoming church in their community."
Promotion for the 2012 observance included a "Pastor Rap" music video posted on YouTube in June. As of Monday, it has over 176,000 views.
According to their website, organizers have already begun planning "National Back to Church" Sunday for next year. It is presently scheduled for Sept. 15, 2013.