Victory Christian Church in Livermore, Maine - Cardboard Testimonies
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:
- Preach a sermon a month or so ahead of time to cast the vision for Back to Church Sunday
- Place 10-packs of invitations on the altar and pray over them before distributing them to the congregation
- Do cardboard testimonies during the service, which gives the participants an extra incentive to invite people
- Follow Back to Church Sunday with a dynamic sermon series. Pastor Kohkanen’s five-week series was called “Connections: The Power of a Relevant Church,” and he went through the five purposes of the church from the book of Acts.