Scott Evans, President of Outreach, Inc. and James O. Davis talk about how National Back to Church Sunday impacts America with a personal invitation to church!
Visit Billion Soul Network
Scott Evans, President of Outreach, Inc. and James O. Davis talk about how National Back to Church Sunday impacts America with a personal invitation to church!
Visit Billion Soul Network
When you post content and have conversations on your Page, you’re building loyalty and creating opportunities to invite people Back to Church and to “Share God’s Love.”
When people like your Page, they’re saying that they care about your page and want to know what’s going on. Posting relevant content is the most important thing you can do to keep them interested.
Continue to engage: To encourage people to develop a relationship with your Page and continue to engage them, make sure you respond to comments and private messages.
Address specific people: If a lot of people have commented on a post, you can taga specific person in your response by typing @ before their name. Your message appears on your Page and other’s Pages and/or Profiles with a link back to your Page!
“The best single piece of advice I received for creating engagement with a church is to tag at least 10 people in every Facebook picture—even if they aren't in the picture but were at the event.” – Steve Foster, New Song Church
Keep track of messages: When people send you a private message, you’ll see a notification about it in your admin panel. Keep track of new messages and respond to them to let customers know that you’re listening.
Tell your audience what you want them to do: The options for engagement are Like, Comment or Share. Do you want them to “like” your posts or “share” them? Let them know and they will listen. The more a person interacts with a Page, the more likely messages from the Page will appear in a Newsfeed as the number of interactions increases the “affinity” score. Ask for their engagement.
Post often: The older a message, the less likely it is to appear on a Newsfeed so post a lot.
You can set any post to be highlighted which means it will take up both sides of the page. This feature enables you to bring special attention to a particular post within the timeline.
You can set a post to be pinned to the top of the page. Pinned posts will stay on top of your timeline for up to 7 days.
Free images can easily be found on Microsoft.com under clip art. You can edit and create custom images for your site. You can also use the images from your Back to Church Sunday Church kit to enhance your posts.
Start setup of a new Facebook Business Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages
Facebook Basics: https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=260315770650470&ref=hcnav
Build Your Brand with Facebook Pages: https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=198605806884743&ref=hcsubnav
Facebook Cover Guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/help/search/?q=cover+guidelines
Facebook Pages Guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php
Facebook Statement of Rights & Responsibilities: https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms
Facebook Family Safety Center: https://www.facebook.com/help/safety
The Viral Video Reaching Half a Million Viewers
Colorado Springs, CO. – The idea behind the Pastor Rap video was to find a way to communicate that going back to church is safe, a safe place for dechurched and unchurched people to go and find community.
“The desired goal of National Back To Church Sunday is to draw those who do not normally attend church to a place where they can belong,” said Eric Abel, vice president of marketing for Outreach, Inc., a Colorado-based marketing company supporting the event. To date more than 13,200 churches have signed up on the searchable roster so people can find a church close to their home.
In an interview, with the host of the 700 Club Interactive, Gordon Robertson asked, "Why did you create the rapping pastors video?" Able commented, “We considered lots of questions as we developed the video content. It’s amazing how it went viral. It all started with the strategy that we wanted to invite people in America back to church. How can we get people back to church? How can we equip the church to invite people? What could we do to paint of picture of everyday life and something that is fun as well? We thought about the dechurched and the unchurched and how we can make NBTCS a safe day to come to church.”
“We also wanted to persuade men to come too.” Able said,” The lyrics, “Put the fam van man, we’re going back to church,” was part of our hope that if we can get the men to come back to church their families will follow. That was some of the motivation behind the Pastor Rap video.”
“It was a very effective tool to reach out to the community. Participating churches recorded a 38% increase on that Sunday. The video was a very useful tool and helped with that It was a way for people to reconsider attending church. We are seeing great comments from pastors and individuals on Facebook about the video and the idea of going back to church.”
“Lifeway research finds that of the Americans going to church only 2% are going to church invite non-Christians. And it shows that 82% of people would come to church if invited by a friend.” Able said, “It could be that churches are not encouraging people to invite people back to church. One great thing about Back to Church Sunday is that gives people a chance to invite people back to church. To get people involved in inviting to church we need to encourage them to communicate their love of the church community.”
“National Back To Church Sunday uses online tools to make it easy for churches and congregations to be a part of this grassroots movement by providing an Evite and Facebook page, www.facebook.com/backtochurch, for followers to like.
National Back To Church Sunday was launched four years ago in response to a survey of 15,000 adults in the United States. “We continue to see that the personal touch is the most effective means of outreach for churches," said Ed Stetzer, president, LifeWay Research. "Good news is best delivered by good messengers.”
You can view the entire interview with Eric Able on the CBNTV online feed http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/mp4/700Clubi_120612_WS&WT.mc_id=VideoRSSFeed. Churches that would like to take part in National Back To Church Sunday, September 15, 2013, may register on a free online roster at www.backtochurch.com/roster. Visit the National Back to Church Facebook page at www.facebook.com/backtochurch.
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 with an easy way to find a welcoming church in their community.
In operation since 1891, LifeWay Christian Resources (www.lifeway.com) 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.
Christians get on my nerves!
44% of Americans agree with the statement!
72% believe Christians are hypocritical.
“The gospel is big and sufficient enough to solve my separation from God and so certainly it is big enough to show grace, hospitality and kindness to those in my community.”
These are just a few the statements that we discuss in this fresh webinar with our host Philip Nation, Director of Adult Publications with LifeWay Research.
Now is your chance. You can, on your own schedule, watch the webinar on the 2012 Back to Church season. Philip has packed this 45 minute session full of useful information on the how-to’s and resources available from the Back to Church Sunday kit. Philip covers not only resources but insightful statistics about our culture today. How our culture has changed but the impact that church attendance is having on people who are looking for something more to this life.
Watch and learn great ways to maximize your efforts as you promote Back to Church Sunday. People need to know your church exists so you’ll find how to:
Here are some principles you’ll take with you.
Create a culture of inviting and investing. We want to create a culture of invitation so pastors can preach and teach newcomers. It’s not just about inviting but about investing in people relationally.
Next create some small groups and teach them to share life together. There is a place for the large group worship, but make sure your local strategy involves small groups.
If you have a strong ministry (For example youth, children’s, women’s or, singles) build on it! Then ride the wave of momentum.
Prepare for company, you will have new faces at your church, prepare the building, train the greeters and those who are serving. Prepare a bulletin, and makes sure that people know the names of leaders and who to contact for more information.
Celebrate the victories and the change that is going to happen. Celebrate the steps that are taken to engage your community.
Finally, prepare the follow up. We want you to have a huge crowd on BTCS. But we want them to keep coming back. So consider what to do so that you’ll have ministries available to help them with their lives; children, parenting, marriage, and financial.
This webinar is a motivating time that is designed to inspire pastors and church leaders to implement all the available resources. It’s a reminder to include all of the available advertisements and web tools, press releases and video presentations to the fullest.
Whether your church is new to Back to Church Sunday or a seasoned participant it’s a great reminder! If your church is part of the Back to Church Alumni we hope that this will inspire you to open your doors again in 2012 to the new people who moved in to your community and the old ones who you wonder; “Where have they gone?” Remind them they can Find Hope Here! Here at your church!
If you are wondering how to generate interest in your church this is the seminar to watch. Forward this link to a friend at your church or to the neighboring pastor. Just don’t miss this information that can be useful as you are launching a Back to Church Sunday rollout.
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.
Philip Nation has served as pastor, minister of education and as a church planting missionary with the North American Mission Board. Philip is the coauthor of Compelled by Love: The Most Excellent Way to Missional Living with Ed Stetzer (New Hope Publishers, 2008). In 2010, he was a contributing author to The Great Commission Resurgence: Fulfilling God’s Mandate in Our Lifetime (edited by Lawless and Greenway).
Jessica Hawkins is one of the hundreds of thousands of people across the country who attended a Back to Church Sunday church in 2011.
A 30-year-old mother of three, Hawkins had drifted away from churchgoing and quit attending the church she had grown up in. She felt a spiritual emptiness and a “lack of open arms” at that church.
Then one fall day in 2011, she received an invitation to attend National Back to Church Sunday at Life in Christ Fellowship in West Jefferson, Ohio. Hawkins says she was “just overcome by the Holy Spirit” at Life in Christ Fellowship and felt a divine tug to rededi-cate her life to Jesus. She did, and now she and her children are regular attendees. “My children were very excited,” Hawkins says. “It’s a lovely, upbeat, very friendly and open atmosphere. I just remember kind of feeling the need and pull to get back to church.”
Scott Polley, pastor at the 80-member church, says attendance at Life in Christ nearly doubled at the event last year, and a number of people, including Hawkins, rededicated their lives to Jesus and are now regulars.
“It’s a phenomenal, door-opening opportunity for us,” Polley says. “It’s a nonthreat-ening way to invite people to church. It’s like a big family reunion.”
Every September, thousands of churches nationwide join the Back to Church Sunday movement to reach the unchurched and dechurched in their communities. Participating churches have consistently experienced attendance growth that continues long after the event. More than 7,600 churches from 34 denominations drew 250,000 visitors for Back to Church Sunday in 2011.
Pastor Joe Pridgen credits Back to Church Sunday for the 33 percent membership growth Sweet Rest Church of Christ (Holiness) has experienced over the past two years. “We are a one hundred-year-old church,” says Pridgen, “and two years ago we had three hundred members. On our first Back to Church Sunday, we had almost four hundred people here, and nine people came forward for membership that day. Throughout that year we had a steady stream of new people who had started with us on Back to Church Sunday coming forward for membership.
“Then, on our second Back to Church Sunday, we had five hundred people. We ran out of room in our building and at our afternoon barbeque! That day, and ever since, we have consistently had new people coming forward for membership, and as of today we have added a total of one hundred new members since our first Back to Church Sunday.”
For this Pearl, Mississippi congregation, outreach is a way of life. They are very involved in Faith in Action, a program that equips churches to transform their communities through service projects such as car repair, clothing and food distribution, health clinics, and mentoring children of single parents. The distinction, Pridgen points out, is that Faith in Action gets the church into the community; Back to Church Sunday gets the community into the church. “And nothing,” declares Pridgen, “has been as effective for us in getting people into our church as Back to Church Sunday.”
To prepare his congregation for Back to Church Sunday, Pridgen challenges every person, young and old, to invite at least ten people, and bring at least two. This strategy of setting a specific goal works – one young physician brought twelve of her relatives, and three of them joined the church! Promotion of the event is done by the steering committee at every service, in every Sunday school class, and at every church meeting, weeks in advance. Young people use their social networks to invite their friends to Back to Church Sunday by creating Facebook events, tweeting about it, and blogging. Members distribute door hangers in their neighborhoods, and invitation cards to their store customers, business associates and family, friends and neighbors.
Faith in Action gets the church into the community; Back to Church Sunday gets the community into the church
The actual day is declared a casual day, and guests are told they don’t have to dress up in church clothes, and they don’t have to bring their wallets, because this will be a day where they receive, and nothing will be asked of them. Every guest is given a copy of Rediscover Church as a gift, and everyone gathers after the service for a classic southern Supper on the Lawn. This past year, Sweet Rest Church used Back to Church Sunday as the impetus for starting a second service. “We announced a new 8:00 service to everyone on Back to Church Sunday, and the next week we started it, and it has taken off,” says Pridgen.
Pridgen is talking to the other pastors in the Pearl Ministerial Alliance about banding together to do Back to Church Sunday this year, and invite all of Pearl back to church. “I told them, ‘You have to do it,’” says Pridgen. “This is probably the single best way to get church members mobilized to invite people to church. I told them that God has really blessed this at our church, and they’d really miss an opportunity if they don’t join us this year. Back to Church Sunday has been one of the best things to happen to Sweet Rest Church in the fourteen years I’ve been here!”
5 Great ideas from Sweet Rest Church of Christ you can try:
Pastor Will Kahkonen is going to make Back to Church Sunday a part of his annual church outreach schedule, and when you hear what has happened at Victory Christian Church in Livermore, Maine since their first Back to Church Sunday event, you understand why. “Our church of 85 people had 60 visitors on Back to Church Sunday,” says Kahkonen, “half of which were first-time guests, and five of them made commitments to Christ that day. Our Harvest Festival the next month broke all attendance records by drawing 200 people from our community, then Christmas broke all attendance records again! Our overall attendance over the past six months has increased by 35%, and we’ve even been able to hire a part-time secretary.”
Kahkonen sees Back to Church Sunday as the catalyst for all this growth. He had been looking for something to kick off the fall season, and Back to Church Sunday did exactly what he wanted it to do – it refocused his people, giving them confidence in their own story and releasing them to make a difference in their own spheres of influence.
“Back to Church Sunday was such a success for us because it ignited a passion in our people,” Kahkonen said. Five weeks before their event, Kahkonen preached a message he called “The Power of the Package,” where he exhorted his congregation to realize that each of them has something to offer the world. He cast the vision for Back to Church Sunday, and challenged them to join in their church’s version of cardboard testimonies . Twenty-five people shared their testimonies during the Back to Church Sunday service by showing their “before” story printed on one side of a piece of cardboard, then flipping it over and showing how God changed them.
Empowering his people to realize they each have a story and God can use them was the key to making Back to Church Sunday such a success. Kahkonen explains, “I told them, ‘Give these invitations to your friends because YOU are going to be sharing your story that day.’ And they grabbed onto that concept. They are the ones who invited people, made calls, got them rides to church. The realized they didn’t need to wait for the church to do something – they had the power to make a difference with their own lives.”
To other pastors considering Back to Church Sunday, Kahkonen says, “DO IT! Don’t just make it a church program. Make it a people program. Release your people to be the ones to make a difference. That’s how you multiply yourself, and that’s where real momentum happens.”
Great ideas from Victory Christian Church you can try:
National Back to Church Sunday is September 18.
As your community heads back to school and back to work—invite them to also return to church. Register your church for Back to Church Sunday to gain access to tons of tools and a kit that will help you plan.
As part of your Back to Church Sunday campaign, invite your neighbors over for a church Open House. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet new faces and connect them with ministries and resources. An Open House will equip churchgoers with an invite-able event, and encourages them to actively participate in the life of the church.
Here are a few key concepts to think on when planning your Open House…
Prepping: Time for a Makeover
Put on your visitor goggles and take a good hard look at your church. Tidy up for church visitors, just like you would for houseguests. Assess the cosmetic, functional and hospitality components that might make your church seem unwelcoming. The goal is to treat each guest like a VIP.
• Grounds: Is your landscaping weed-free, neat, clean and attractive?
• Parking: Are handicap and visitor spots available at the front of your church? Would parking attendants be helpful?
• Accessibility: Is your church accessible for the handicapped? Are appropriate accommodations available to people once inside? Consider elements such as seating, restrooms and ramps.
• Signage: If you didn’t know where the main sanctuary, restrooms and childcare were, would they be easy to find without assistance?
• Comfort: Is it comfortable to enter the building? Is the temperature, odor, lighting and seating comfortable for everyone?
• Eyesores: Are there any outdated or shabby items that should be replaced? Consider flooring, lights, seating, pulpit, wall hangings, A/V systems, or hymnals that should be updated.
• Bathrooms: Are your restrooms clean, fresh, stocked and easy to find?
• Lobby: Is your lobby area welcoming and uncluttered with sufficient greeters? Are all items on your info table neat, stocked and current?
• Culture of Hospitality: Are people naturally friendly and welcoming at your church? How could you enculturate your church to embrace newcomers?
• Children’s Ministry: Does it inspire a feeling of safety and fun for visitors? Is it easy to find?
Planning: Open House Experience
Consider your surrounding community and what might appeal to them during your open house.
• Promotion: Consider a postcard mailer or door hanger invite. Equip churchgoers to invite their neighbors with small invitation cards or flyers. Set up a Facebook event page, and blog or Twitter about the featured activities.
• Check In: As guests enter, give them an event program. Collect contact information in exchange for raffle tickets.
• Exhibit Area: Ask each ministry to set up an info table with upcoming events, ways to connect, small giveaways, and activities (i.e. the children’s ministry could host a bounce house or kids’ zone).
• Food: Provide seating and some light refreshments or a BBQ. Consider adding a fun contest element like a chili cook-off, etc.
• Entertainment: Set up a stage area, and invite various ministries to contribute music, arts, dance or another visual performance.
• Facilities: Provide easy access to restrooms, a diaper changing and private nursing area.
• Tours: Provide guided tours of the church with a brief description of various ministries available.
• Introductions: Invite the pastors to share a bit about each ministry from stage throughout the event.
• Door Prizes: Consider items from the church bookstore, tickets to events, or fun giveaways from each ministry. Raffle tickets could be given away at each booth (as an incentive for visiting booths), or collected at each booth (for prizes specific to that ministry’s demographic).
Has your church hosted an Open House? What was the most popular element?
If you told me in 2004 that I would stop going to church, resent Christians and be separated from my relationship with God by 2005, I would probably have laughed.
I had been going to church since elementary school, had given my life to Christ at a summer middle school camp and was on fire for Jesus. There wasn’t a thing related to church that I wasn’t involved in. I listened to mostly Christian music, ran a Bible Study, was president of Campus on the Rock at my high school, lead announcements at my high school ministry and was at church three days a week.
But that was the problem - I was burned out, exhausted, and overwhelmed with the weight of choosing to focus on college-prep or church activities. I knew the only one to talk to would be my youth pastor. We sat in his warehouse office – full of books and Bibles – and I eagerly waited for his answer.
“Maybe the problem is that you’re not focused enough on God, maybe you’re not involved in enough ministry,” he said. To say I was upset would soften the blow I felt in that moment. He went on for almost an hour, but the damage of his first statement blocked my ears to any other advice that followed. I instantly felt alone. I felt like no one, especially church people, could understand what it was like to be overwhelmed and lost as a Christian girl in high school.
It was at that moment that I decided to drop church and anything related. I stepped down from church leadership, handed over my presidency at Campus on the Rock and left the church. I can’t say this felt bad – it felt wonderful. My resentment felt empowering and my bitterness fueled my focus in school.
It saddens me that looking back at this moment, I still remember the overwhelming relief of giving back the burden of service. There was a small tinge of upset at walking away from friendships I’d made, but to my surprise many of the church friends I had, forgot I ever existed. If I wasn’t in church, I wasn’t in their group anymore. (Looking back now I realize this is teenager behavior, not a reflection of Christians in general.)
I graduated high school, went to a community college, transferred to a state college in another city and worked part time. Church was a distant memory and church friends were estranged.
I still prayed, although it was few and far between – and definitely kept a secret. My mom was the strong Christian force in my life and in some warped way I felt like this was enough. Christian by osmosis. I felt like if she prayed over me and was the guiding force in all the advice I would seek that somehow I would be OK.
It wasn’t until I graduated college and was working full time that it really hit me. My relationship with God shouldn’t be guided by my relationship with religion. There wasn’t a “Do this or Else – God” billboard hovering over my life. I missed Him and He was waiting for me to come back.
I went a few more months until the pangs of loneliness and the desire for a deeper relationship with God finally took over. I decided to look up a local church and just go. I psyched myself up – telling myself it didn’t matter what types of people were there – it was the fact that I had to go back home. I even convinced myself that I didn’t have to get involved in any ministry – I could just go and be fed.
One condition I set up for myself was that I wouldn’t go the first day alone. I needed at least one other friend to go with me so I wasn’t the weirdo sitting alone in the back.
Being new to the area I lived in and not having church-friendly people in my life, I decided to throw it out to my acquaintances.
Tom, a guy I had hung out with a few times over coffee, who often said things like “Faith is important, it really guides our lives”, fit the bill. I called him up and asked if he would join me and before I knew it I was waiting for him outside the church.
The setting was overwhelming, tons of people, loud music and only a few empty seats. I cried during worship as God broke my pride and welcomed me back with open arms. I sat motionless and let the sermon wash over me. I did look over at Tom every few minutes to make sure he was enjoying it as much as I was but he was a tough read.
It wasn’t until after the service, when he and I sat in a small diner and went over the sermon that he revealed he was a Scientologist. It sounds like a punch line – “a Scientologist and a Christian walk into a church” – but it was the single most important moment in my life.
He and I spoke at length at the differences between our faiths and the similarities in their purpose. He explained that Christianity encouraged him and we were able to discuss our fears and successes in relation to faith. We parted ways and lost touch after that night – I don’t know if it was my defense of Christianity or my lack of interest in Scientology – but he always stayed present in my mind.
Here I was looking for a buffer between the church and me when in reality he was an opportunity for me to share Christ’s love.
Since then I still go to church and have been slowly getting back into ministry. I’ve learned that service does indeed have seasons and that we need to take time off to be fed by worship and the word so that we may go back out in strength.
Working with ministries like National Back to Church Sunday I understand the fears and frustrations most Christians feel after leaving the church. It helps fuel my desire to continue to invite people back.
Church doesn’t bite – people do.
It’s been a battle to learn that people, even Christians, will expect too much and let me down, but now that I’ve accepted this and grown stronger in my faith, I’m ready to face the calling.