Back to Church Sunday in Chester Diocese
We need to build up contact and friendship with a bigger 'fringe' of people - that's how parishes have always worked. BACK TO CHURCH SUNDAY can help you do that.
This year Back to Church Sunday is Sunday 29 September 2013
The Archdeacon of Chester, the Venerable Dr Michael Gilbertson writes: ‘From my own experience, I know that Back to Church Sunday can be very effective. It’s a simple idea and there are excellent resources to help your church engage with it. If you have not already tried it, I would encourage you to do so – and pray that God will use it to grow his kingdom.’
Richard Burton, the Diocesan Parish Development Officer says, “Back to Church Sunday is an effective form of mission and outreach. It may not appeal to everyone in the parish, but it clearly helps to draw many back into the life of the church. If your church has not so far taken part I think it is time your PCC asked why.”
BTCS helps your church develop a culture of invitation and welcome. It is so simple; all it’s about is one person inviting a friend to their church. Parishes taking part need to set up small teams to organise BTCS locally.
This year there is a streamlined process for Taking Part, with a simple 3 step system on the B2CS website. (Any churches without internet access may order by calling the BTCS office on 0845 859 0006)
1) Register Your Church
Go to B2CS website and register.
2) Order Your Invitations
B2CS are currently putting the final touches to the packs this year, as they include a few more goodies than last year. Your pack will have inside:
- 50 BTCS invites
- 2 A4 posters
- 1 A3 poster
- A "Best Bits" DVD (with an introduction from ABC Justin Welby)
Packs cost just £25 (including P&P). These will be available to order via Traidcraft in May, so they will be in touch nearer the time to remind you!
3) Get Ready to Invite
Churches will have access to a wealth of ideas, tips, videos, templates and logo downloads to help them make the most of the day and welcome their guests. These free resources will be available from April.
10 ideas to making the most of Back to Church Sunday
- Share the vision: B2CS vision is for everyone in the church to invite a friend to come to church with them on B2CS in September. If everyone invites a friend the congregation will double. Use all available opportunities to share the vision with the church.
- Set up a B2CS team now to plan for the event: Decide how to share the vision for Back to Church Sunday; the publicity between now and September; the service itself; and the after church care of those invited.
- Ensure every church member is personally given an invitation card for B2CS: You will need the church leadership team to stand at the church door and give the cards to people at the end of the service together with a word of encouragement.
- Teach about how God connects people through friendship: Churches grow through friendship.
- Use the power of story: Get people to give their own story of how they came to faith and who helped them.
- Pray: Get every person in the congregation to pray about who they might invite.
- Handle people's fears: Explain the fears we have of inviting people to church and how we all share them; what will they think of my church, what if they say no, what if I make my friends feel uncomfortable, what I make myself appear foolish.
- Help the church to be welcoming: Use the material from Bob Jackson’s course “Everybody Welcome” on a Sunday or in your home groups; take a report from a mystery worshipper to your PCC (contact the Parish Development Team for a mystery worshipper); invite your Parish Development Officer to lead a conference for the church on welcome.
- To help people come back to church again: Introduce your friend to others over coffee and food after the service. Discuss what your friends thought of the service.
To help people come back to church again: Plan some other special services to invite people to between Back to Church Sunday and Christmas. Invite them again.