I have spoken often to you in recent years about inviting people to come to church, and one tool we have used to do that in recent years is “Back to Church Sunday.” The BTCS movement started as a call to action and invitation for the Church in 2009, so it is marking its tenth year and continues to gain momentum.
More than 5 million Christ followers have participated through 30,000 churches! It is a day focused on uniting the church to equip and empower members to be inviters. Eight out of ten people say they are open to visiting church if invited—they are just waiting for an invitation.
I have always suspected as much. In reflecting on why people don’t come to church, there are many reasons that could be given. But the most likely reason many people don’t come is simply because no one ever asked them to. Why is that? Do we like our church and find a blessing here? Sure, or we would not be here ourselves. Do we have anything worth inviting folks to? Of course – there are always good things and important ministries going on. Do we love people? Absolutely! So we have good reason to ask people to come and join us.
Back to Church Sunday 2018 is coming up on September 16. We’re having a special service specifically designed to welcome people back to church, so now is a good time to start praying about who you will invite. And then follow up by inviting someone to come with you to church.
This year’s Back to Church Sunday theme is “You Belong Here,” based on Romans 15:7. The fact is that 75% of Americans admit to feeling deep loneliness. In addition, the number of Americans with no close friends has tripled since 1985. That’s certainly one reason we are here – for people to get plugged in, form friendships, and have the chance to serve together in the community. Following worship, we will have refreshments to help visitors and members get to know each other.
This is the perfect opportunity to invite your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers to join you and grow deeper in their faith, or perhaps encounter God for the first time. And I pray you will.
I hope you will join us in worship not only on the 16th of September, but on each and every Sunday in September. We will be unpacking, reflecting, and singing some of our most beloved hymns of faith and hope. I look forward to seeing one and all as we begin a new church year!
In Christ, Pastor Joel
Rev. Dr. Doris Barron-Shell