August 25th, 2012 11:40 EST
Over Ten Thousand Churches Commit to Bringing Folks Back to Church
More than 10,000 congregations have committed to active participation in National Back to Church Sunday on Sept. 16. By registering their names and locations (www.backtochurch.com/roster), these congregations have signaled their intentions to invite family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, who, for a variety of reasons, no longer attend church.
The largest community outreach in the nation is expected to draw the participation of more than 14,000 churches.
Recent surveys show that 48 percent of church members have not invited an unchurched person to attend a worship service or other program at their church in the past six months. National Back to Church Sunday offers a unique opportunity for thousands of people across the nation to receive and respond to a personal invitation to go back to church.
"The personal touch is the most effective means for churches to reach out to their communities," said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a supporting partner of National Back to Church Sunday. "Good news is best delivered by good messengers."
Invitations to the unchurched are expected to skyrocket with the newest National Back to Church Sunday social media tools, such as "e-vites" and a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/backtochurch). The "Pastor Rap" video (http://backtochurch.com/videos) promoting the special Sunday has gone viral on YouTube and is being shared by thousands.
National Back to Church Sunday also offers a church kit (www.backtochurch.com/store), including a campaign planning guide, suggested sermons and graphics and widgets for church websites or social media.
"Citywide initiatives are multiplying the event`s effectiveness," said Philip Nation, director of adult ministry publishing at LifeWay and spokesperson for National Back to Church Sunday. "Churches are encouraged to partner with one another to increase the scope of their reach into every community."
Registration for National Back to Church (www.backtochurch.com/roster) is simple and free. With its search feature, newcomers and the curious can easily find a nearby church, and congregations can locate other participating churches to form partnerships.
National Back to Church Sunday has inspired churchgoers since 2009 to invite more than 2.6 million family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers to their churches. Last year, 3,800 churches participated, reporting an average of 26 percent increase in weekly attendance.
Churches are encouraged to sign up at www.backtochurch.com and begin equipping members to invite people to church on Sept. 16.
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. 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.
LifeWay Christian Resources (www.lifeway.com), in operation since 1891, is one of the largest Christian resource organizations in the world. LifeWay Research exists for the purpose of equipping church leaders with insight that will lead to greater levels of ministry effectiveness through research-based books and reports based on statistically validated surveys. LifeWay Research is one of the most trusted sources of information about the church, culture and faith.