So much preparation has gone into this opportunity to mobilize your people and reach your community, and you are almost there! But for maximum impact, we recommend taking action on these final tips as you inch closer to your Back To Church Sunday celebration weekend:
- Saturate with Prayer
- Make the Final Ask
- Prepare for Company
Saturate with Prayer
The very first step in preparing for Back to Church Sunday is to seek God in prayer… and that is what you are encouraged to continue to prioritize as you make your way through the final week of preparation.
Ask those prayer warriors and prayer groups in your church to focus their prayers in four specific ways:
- Praying for boldness as your people invite their friends, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, etc, to join them at church
- Praying for protection and encouragement for all of your ministry leaders and volunteers as they serve with compassion and a welcoming spirit
- Praying for wisdom and clarity as your pastor prepares and delivers the Gospel message and invites people to place their trust in Jesus
- Praying for openness from those who are hearing the salvation message, that they would take action and embrace the hope of Jesus
Make the Final Ask
Ask your people to commit to making that simple invitation… now. The core of Back to Church Sunday is to equip and encourage your people to make those invitations that they have been hesitant to make. Everything leading up to this point has focused on challenging your people to prayerfully consider who it is that God is placing on their heart and making that invitation. You have equipped them with invite cards, door hangers, social media posts to share, and other invitation tools. You have encouraged them with invite videos, outreach challenges, and prayer. Even so, there are still people in your church who have been putting off the ask, who have not yet invited that person.
Now is the time to provide that extra encouragement for your people to set aside their hesitations and take action. Remind them that the mission Jesus gave us relates directly to reaching others with His Good News. The mission is not optional for those who are following Jesus… it is part of what it means for us to be a disciple. Share stories of how you and others in your church are inviting others. Let them know you are looking forward to meeting their guests. Pray publicly for your people and for those guests they are inviting. Help your people take action by encouraging them in the final days via text, email, social media or a personal phone call.
Prepare for Company
When we know special guests are coming to our home, we take measures to ensure they feel welcomed. The same is true with our spiritual home, and you know company is coming for your celebration. Here are three important ways your church can prepare to let everyone who walks through your doors know you are thinking of them
- Start, and End, with a Smile – A first impression leaves a lasting impression so make the time to connect with your hospitality team and encourage them. Remind them that their ministry is vital and welcoming people helps set the tone for their entire experience. Pray over these ministry leaders and volunteers and pray for the guests with whom they will interact. Evaluate your greeting ministry and consider having people welcome people in the parking lot with handheld signs and cheery smiles. Be sure greeters will be proactive in helping guests find children’s ministry areas, coffee and refreshments, seats in your worship center, restrooms, next steps, and other key places. Have your team be prepared to connect with guests at the close of your worship celebration, perhaps with a special gift book or other item to thank them for joining you.
- Keep Guests Safety in Mind – With all that we have faced over the past 18+ months, safety preparations for your in-person gatherings are incredibly important, especially to first-time guests. There are several ways you can communicate you are thinking about, and providing for, their safety:
- Hand sanitizer stations placed in key areas
- Non-toxic fogging disinfectant to quickly and safely disinfect surfaces in nurseries, children’s areas, bathrooms, sanctuaries, auditoriums, etc
- If appropriate, masks for your ministry leaders and to offer guests who may not have one
- Clear signage that lets newcomers understand safety precautions, social distancing, etc
- Touchless communion elements to allow all to participate in the Lord’s Supper safely
- Clarify Next Steps – Ultimately, we are called to make disciples. To effectively live out this calling as a church, we must develop relationships with those that join us for worship. As you invite your community to celebrate BTCS, be thinking through the next steps for every guest. How can you build on this initial connection and truly get to know those who have come? To learn more about planning clear next steps, check out this article.
We are living in a time when people are seeking hope and are hungry for meaningful relationships. Jesus is our hope, and you are actively introducing people to both Jesus and His church. We are praying for every church as you are reaching your communities this fall through the National Back to Church Sunday movement. Be sure to join other participating churches in our BTCS facebook group for ongoing encouragement and to celebrate together all that God is doing in and through His Church!