With the third annual National Back to Church Sunday rapidly approaching, the initiative and churches involved are working hard to make sure that the event is a success.
On September 18, an estimated 10,000 churches will be inviting all who don't attend church regularly or at all to pay a visit to their local congregation. Six-thousand churches have already invited approximately a half million people to join the event.
"It is the privilege of every Christian to invite someone to church," director of ministry development for LifeWay Research, Philip Nation, said.
"By taking part in National Back to Church Sunday, Believers can introduce the hope of the Gospel to their communities by welcoming people into their local congregations."
National Back to Church Sunday was established in 2009, after LifeWay Research and the North American Mission Board conducted a survey of 15,000 people, and found that 67 percent of Americans said they would visit a church if invited by a family member and 63 percent would attend invited by a friend, neighbor or co-worker.
Since then, churches have seen millions of fresh faces in their pews, with many continuing to attend after the event. Last year, 1.4 million family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers attended to Back to Church events. Approximately 3,800 churches say they have seen an at least 26 percent increase in their weekly attendance.
In order to prepare, churches are being provided with a host of tools to promote the event. The "reDiscover Church" booklet gives invitees a list of 10 reasons why they should return to church and 10 reasons why people stop going to church in the first place. Pamphlets can also be customized according to the church with, with its address and a personal letter from the pastor added.
Churches can also take advantage of online resources at the NBTCS website. From questionnaires to figure out what resources are best for churches to prepare, to planning kits provided by Outreach, Inc., that include campaign planning guide, sermons ideas, graphics and widgets for church websites or social media, promotional materials, the initiative has done all it can to ensure that churches are ready to receive as many visitors as it can handle.
“Creating ways to empower church members to reach out to their friends and neighbors is exciting. And we are looking forward to this event continuing to gain momentum.” said Eric Abel, vice president of marketing for Outreach, Inc.