COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., August 15, 2013 -- Exactly a month from today, September 15, more than two million Americans will be focused on a national team event that has nothing to do with major league sports. Their goal: Getting folks back to church.
On that Sunday, 20,000 churches from coast to coast will be participating in special services in their own communities for National Back to Church Sunday® after stepping out to invite people they know and love to come back to church.
So far, more than 18,000 churches have signed up for the free initiative, and the number grows by the hour as currently about 120 churches are signing up each day at www.backtochurch.com. In addition, the Back to Church Facebook page (www.facebook.com/backtochurch) has garnered more than 47,000 likes in one month, as the excitement builds and participating churches gear up for the special services they will hold designed to be welcoming to their community.
“Right now is a perfect time to sign up and get your church engaged in this energy-filled project,” said Scott Evans, founder and CEO of Outreach, Inc., the nation’s leading provider of church communications resources and one of the founders of National Back to Church Sunday. “Make your decision and get your team on board – there are many resources available, many by download you could have today. It’s a great way to kickstart your own fall programming and bless your community.”
“Remember,although most people in America have been to church, only about 20% attend regularly,” he continued. “Yet research shows most people would try it if someone just invited them.”
Participating churches are also preparing for the day by encouraging members to make a special effort to attend church that day, and to invite someone to come with them.
"Seven out of 10 unchurched people would visit a church if a friend invited them. What are we waiting for?” said Lee Strobel, best-selling author of The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith.
“The church offers hope, grace, truth, joy and the message of eternal life -- all of which we want our friends to experience. Let's take a risk and prayerfully offer an invitation!"
Yet despite the endorsement from Strobel and many other church leaders, only two percent of church members have invited someone to church in the past year. National Back to Church Sunday provides the inspiration and tools to help church members push past their discomfort to reach out and invite others to come.
And pastors understand it also comes at a key time of the year for reengaging people after the summer.
“September is the number one growth time in a church,” said Bil Cornelius, pastor of Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi, Texas. “You gotta give them a reason to come back, and they will.”
To help encourage churches to promote and church members to invite, National Back to Church Sunday has ready-to-use materials available at www.backtochurch.com.Free materials include a roster listing,publicity materials, tips for using social media, and information about using the Back to Church Facebook page and YouTube channel.
The richly-resourced project also offers everything from postcards to bulletin covers to banners and videos. An in-depth Back to Church kit, available in print or as a download, includes a planning guide, sermons, videos, children’s curriculum, posters, e-book, samples of other printed resources, and more than 60 digital resources, such as e-vites, web banners, PowerPoint presentations, logos and children’s resources.
National Back to Church Sunday even has its own You Tube channel with more than 20 videos to share information, inspiration -- and also make it fun. Video previews are available at http://www.youtube.com/btcsunday
National Back to Church Sunday is the largest annual community-based church outreach effort in the nation, when thousands of churches share the simple message and mission of inviting everyone in America Back to Church. 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 an easy way for everyone in the community to find a welcoming church.