Back the Church Sunday is a nation wide invite to Australians to come back to church on the 13th of September. It simply involves Christians to invite their friends to church on one day for them to check it out for themselves. Each member of a church gets an invite to give to someone else. So far over 60,000 invites have been sent to churches over Australia. Now I probably won't use my physical invite (as I think a word of mouth invite is less formal and may work a little better), but if each person involved in this event invites one person, that means about 60,000 people in Australia will know about this event and have the option of coming along.
This is the first time this event has been run nationally in Australia, but over in the UK they have been doing this, with quite some success for the past few years. The Brisbane area did it earlier this year, under the name Connect to Church Sunday.
On the night the service it will look similar to an ordinary service, so the church isn't giving a false sales pitch and if anyone comes back the next week there won't be a jarring effect on their experience. Having said that there will be a few minor differences.
Hopefully it will feel a little like an open day as there hopefully will be lots of people checking church out. Because of this influx of new people the church hopefully will be geared towards welcoming new people, and making their building more user friendly. This will mean having clearer signs around the building and clear explanations during the service so everyone know what is going on. (These are also helpful pointers not just for the 13th of September).
Another thing that is different is that during the service there will be an apology from the senior minister towards any guests that has been hurt by the church in the past. This hopefully will be a good step forward to reconcile people who have been hurt in the past to the church. It's a small step, but a good one in the right direction that hopefully might lead to forgiveness.
The Back to Church Sunday website has a whole heap of content for churches to improve their welcoming task. It is worth checking out.
And if you haven't been to church in a few years, you maybe surprised that things may have changed since you have last been there.
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