By John Bornschein, Senior Pastor
Calvary Fellowship Fountain Valley
Several times in scripture (1) we are told to declare God’s glory among the nations and to go into all the world with the gospel message. Then we are instructed to serve these people with the heart of a foot-washer (2). Billy Graham stated, “We are the Bibles the world is reading; We are the creeds the world is needing; We are the sermons the world is heeding.”
So, where as the Church should we begin?
As church leaders, we labor for the cause of Christ and yet, we struggle to see movement of the Word in our parishioners from the pew to the pavement. They are often incapacitated by the thought of “sharing their faith” or “bearing witness.” Therefore, we find that only 2% of people in the average congregation will invite someone to church, while the world desperately awaits to be invited. In fact, statistics tell us that 8 out of 10 individuals would accept if asked! Therefore, we must unite together, as churches, to mobilize the followers of Christ and equip them to impact their spheres of influence – we can delay no longer. The time is now!
National Back to Church Sunday, September 16, 2018 can serve as a catalyst for the people of God to step out of their comfort zones and invite their family, friends, co-workers and neighbors to their place of worship. With churches reporting 25% more visitors on Back to Church Sunday, just imagine what it will sound like before the throne of God to hear 16 million more people in church that Sunday!
So, how do we start?
Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain” – Psalm 127:1.
It begins with prayer and consecration. Before the people of Israel were to go into the Promised Land, Joshua reminded them to consecrate themselves. A movement of God always begins with and through the Holy Spirit. As God’s appointed leaders, we must prepare the people spiritually for the work that is before them. From there, it gets easy:
Spread the Word:
The Harvard Business Review has stated that most people will respond to seven impression points. This is where Outreach, Inc. comes in. They have created a vast array of resources for equipping your congregation to invite someone to church.
So, at Calvary Fellowship Fountain Valley, we are planning a team meeting with our leaders to share the vision and give an overview of each of the promotional tools. (If you don’t have a vision for the growth in your church, then I highly recommend you go back and re-read Habakkuk 2:2-3.)
Be sure to list your church information on the website www.backtochurch.com, then establish a budget to acquire the tools you need from Outreach, Inc. Remember, the goal is to saturate the community from local stores and street corners to social media, and by way of every house around the church, if possible. You will only reap what you sow. The return is in direct proportion to your investment. Our church has acquired the invitations, door hangers, bulletins, posters, banners and church kit. The team leaders will then help share the vision, equip their volunteers, decorate the facility and with a smile on their face, share their enthusiasm with every member of the church.
On the Sundays leading up to the event, we will play the Josh and Steve invite videos on our sanctuary screens and on roll-up displays near tables of resources that are positioned strategically throughout the building and campus. Every week, I plan to share the vision for Back to Church Sunday with the congregation and encourage each person to get involved and to do their part to make Back to Church Sunday a “standing stone memorial” in the legacy of our church outreach (Joshua 4). After all, this is bigger than any one of us.
Finally, we are planning to go door-to-door with gift bags: each filled with a Bible, devotional and invitation card. And the week before Back to Church Sunday, we are mailing an Outreach, Inc. postcard to more than 11,000 homes around our church. If only 2% respond to this mailing, we will have to make accommodations for 220 more people! This is what gets us excited and our team leaders are already busily preparing as a result.
We are a small church with 83 volunteers and a congregation of less than 300 people. If we can do it, so can you!
Pastor John joined Jason Daye for a conversation on planning an effective Back to Church event – click here to watch 4 short helpful videos for tips and insights.
1 – Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15; Psalm 96:3; Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 28:31
2 – John 13:1-17; Matthew 25:31-39; Isaiah 58:6-9; James 1:27