Guest reflection: Twelve steps for Back to Church Sunday success

"Success is one person inviting one person" back to Church on Sunday. Photo: Richard Cummins
"Success is one person inviting one person" back to Church on Sunday. Photo: Richard Cummins
Published January 14, 2011

Across the Anglican Communion on Back to Church Sunday, 100,000 Christians had 100,000 invitations accepted. However, only 20 percent of our congregations actually plucked up the courage to invite.

What happened at your church? Do these statistics, with 80 percent of people not inviting, relate to your church?

Here is a learning tool (adapted from the 12 steps of becoming an inviting church) that any church leadership team can use to assess how they did in mobilizing their congregation to invite. This tool can also be used to add those who were invited to your normal congregation on subsequent weeks.

Step One: Did you as the church leader manage to get the vision of doubling your congregation across as a compelling vision?

Step Two: Did you as the church leader model invitation by inviting someone?
Step Three: Did every member of the congregation get a personal invitation from you as the church leader or the leadership team to invite?

Step Four: Did you explain the spirituality of friendship?
Step Five: Did you use the power of story?
Step Six: Did you ask God who He might want us to invite?

Step Seven: Did you practice the question, “Would you like to come to church with me?”
Step Eight:  Did you pray as a church?
Step Nine: Did the congregation courageously make invitations?

Step Ten: Did you walk or drive your guests to church?
Step Eleven: Did you introduce invited guests to friends at church?
Step Twelve: Did you invite them again the following week?

On scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being poor and 10 being excellent, evaluate how things went

Out of 120 how did you do?

This tool gives you an opportunity to understand the areas in which you can improve leadership. These 12 questions give us the feedback we need to work out a better plan of action for the next time you attempt a big invitation Sunday.

On your next Invitation Sunday or for Back to Church Sunday in September 2011, I would suggest that you set a very high expectation of actually doubling your congregation and retaining every single invited guest. Now I know you might be thinking that is not going to happen but….

“The higher goal has more to do with who you have to become, what your church has to become, how many more people you will have to serve and invite. Everything has to change when you are trying to have a higher goal than a lower goal.”

Set your goals for God high. If you have a goal for God’s work that is small that may be the result. One of the problems of the church today is that our goals are too low and we meet them. If you want to achieve great things for God, we must have much bigger goals. If you mind says “I am sure we can make this goal,” then it is perhaps not high enough. If our goals are higher we will need to think in a different way. Nothing is impossible for our God, but God allows us to play our part. But remember success is one person inviting one person, the response is God’s!

Michael Harvey is the founder of Back to Church Sunday in Canada. He is on a seminar tour in Canada from April 27th through to May 7th


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