National Back to Church Sunday September 15, 2013
National Back to Church Sunday (http://www.backtochurch.com)
Want to be happier and live longer? Who doesn’t? According to a recent article in the Washington Times, having an active spiritual life is one of the best ways to accomplish this. The WashingtonTimes article,Churchgoing correlated to longevity, April 2006, reported that those who attend church regularly tend to live an average of 35% longer than those who do not.
A Barna survey also shows that people who participate in faith-based communities are more optimistic, less stressed, and believe they are making a positive difference in the world. Yet, the number of Americans who identify as “unchurched” or “dechurched” has steadily increased over the past decade. Is there a way for people of faith to turn things around?
Enter National Back to Church Sunday, the single largest annual community outreach in the nation.
This year, the goal is to have 20,000 churches actively involved in National Back to Church Sunday. Imagine, churches of varying backgrounds, worship styles, and spirituality, reaching 10 million people with an invitation to come back to church.
Since its inception in the fall of 2009, the number of churches participating in National Back to Church Sunday has increased exponentially. In 2010, the number doubled from 3,800 to 7,600. In 2012, that number skyrocketed to over 13,100 churches inviting approximately 7.5 million friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to attend church.
“Inviting America back to church is not an insurmountable task,” says Eric Abel, Director of Marketing at Outreach, Inc. According to Thom Rainer’s book, The Unchurched Next Door, “82% of people will come to church if they are invited by a trusted relative or friend. The numbers are similar for those who are counted among the ‘de-churched’—people who used to attend church regularly, but for one reason or another, have stopped going.”
To help churches succeed in this effort, National Back to Church Sunday has provided an interactive website with free resources. There is a National Back to Church 2013 Church Kit which offers a step-by-step approach to prepare for National Back to Church Sunday. One of the highlights of the kit is the viral video, Pastor Rap. These tools are designed to encourage church members to invite their family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to come back to church. (Visit http://www.backtochurch.com for more details.)
In the fall of 2012, a National Back to Church Sunday survey showed that participating churches experienced a 38% increase in average church attendance, and 97% of pastors that responded to the survey said they would participate again in 2013.
“Enabling people to extend a simple invitation to family, friends, and coworkers has had a huge impact not only on our attendance, but on the sense of hope in our congregation. And being a smaller church, hope is sometimes in short supply when it comes to attendance. We will definitely be participating again next year. This was a great experience for us, and has really sparked our evangelism efforts.”—Redeemer Lutheran Church
National Back to Church Sunday, http://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.