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Fifth Annual National Back to Church Sunday Breaks Records for Participation

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Sept. 19, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — National Back to Church Sunday® 2013 broke records again this year when an estimated 3 million people attended a Back to Church Sunday event last weekend, believed to be the highest attendance on record for the event.

The effort had already broken records for numbers of participating churches. A total of 21,491 churches from all 50 states enrolled in 2013, 8,339 more churches than the prior year, representing an increase of more than 63 percent.

“The campaign reinvigorated and encouraged our members to invite people to church,” reported First Baptist Penn Hills, Pa., in a post-event survey.

“It was a great success,” was the comment from Auburn Baptist Church, Christiansburg, Va. “Our church was full, our classes were full of children and our parking lot was overflowing.”

Participating churches reported an average 31 percent increase in attendance, and 35 percent of responding churches said they had new visitors making decisions to receive Christ or to rededicate their lives.

“This campaign generated a spark and forced our congregation to reach out in a way that I have not seen in many years. This is a wonderful campaign,” reported Southern Heights Christian Church, Anderson, Ind.

Back to Church Sunday, a nationwide movement, seeks to welcome Americans back to church and to encourage church members to invite others to attend. Eighty-four percent of responding churches reported that having a special day motivated their members to invite family and friends.

“It was a huge success and helped the church understand the importance of inviting people as well as being prepared for guests when they arrive,” Norwood Heights Baptist Church, Palestine, Texas, reflected.

In addition, 96 percent of responding churches said they’d participate in Back to Church Sunday again.

“We love Back to Church Sunday,” Bethel Christian Center, Tinton Falls, N.J. commented. “It’s a great way to share God’s love and get people to come back to him.”

National Back to Church Sunday is the largest annual community-based church outreach effort in the nation. 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 an easy way for everyone in the community to find a welcoming church.

It started as a result of survey research that indicated 82% of people said they would attend church if someone they knew invited them, but only 2% of church members were inviting people to come with them to their church.

More information is available at www.backtochurch.com, where churches can sign up now for Back to Church Sunday, scheduled for Sunday, September 21, 2014. In coming months additional information about plans for the 2014 event will be added. Churches are posting their own comments and results on the Back to Church Facebook page (www.facebook.com/backtochurch) and there is also information available on the Back to Church You Tube Channel.

“Don’t let another Back To Church Sunday pass you by,” concluded Steep Falls Baptist Church, Steep Falls, Maine. “It is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the unchurched and make them feel loved and accepted.”

America Goes Back to Church En Masse

Fourth National Back to Church Sunday Exceeds All Previous Records

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Sept. 19, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ – On Sept. 16, in the largest grassroots movement of its kind, 13,152 congregations of various denominations, styles and theologies united in a single cause to invite an estimated 7.5 million friends, family, neighbors and coworkers to attend church on National Back to Church Sunday. Participating churches saw an estimated 38 percent increase in their attendance.

“I’ve heard from a number of pastors and churches that this was a great tool they used to mobilize their people and reach their community,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a supporting partner of National Back to Church Sunday. “Many are enthusiastic about the focus the fourth annual National Back to Church Sunday has injected into their congregations.”

The movement is based on the simple principle that 82 percent of people will come to church if invited by a friend, according to Thom Rainer’s “The Unchurched Next Door.”  Yet, from a recent LifeWay Research study, only 48 percent of church members invited their unchurched friends to church in the last six months.

“We turned National Back to Church Sunday into our Back to Church Weekend, starting with a free garage sale for our community and distribution of more than 100 brochures about our church,” reported Pineview Baptist Church in Thomasville, Ala. “We are a small church averaging about 30 people in weekly worship attendance, but we estimate that almost 200 people walked through our doors this weekend. This was a great way to spread the word about our worship service and make people feel welcome.”

Brian Loughmiller, mayor of McKinney, Texas, issued an official proclamation of Sept. 16 as National Back to Church Sunday in their community. A representative of his office was scheduled to present the proclamation in person at Eternity Community Church.

At Victory Christian Center in Victorville, Calif., every child went home Sunday with a tote bag of school supplies. In Medina, Tenn., attendance at ThatChurch.com rose to 171 from an average of 135. “We also baptized nine people on National Back to Church Sunday,” said Ronnie Ragan, campus pastor.

The number of churches participating doubled from 3,800 churches in 2010 to 7,600 churches in 2011 and skyrocketed to a total of 13,152 churches this year. With a 38 percent increase in average attendance, 97 percent of responding pastors said they will participate in National Back to Church Sunday next year.

“Churches now have the opportunity to capitalize on the momentum created by National Back to Church Sunday,” said Philip Nation, director of adult ministry publishing at LifeWay Christian Resources and spokesperson for National Back to Church Sunday. “By their attendance, people have shown they are interested in making a connection with church and with God. We have to show them the way.”

Many will employ the 30-Day Church Challenge (www.30daychurchchallenge.com) to engage returning National Back to Church Sunday visitors and to transform their congregations. Featuring inspirational sermons, weekly challenges, video-based lessons and the “30-Day Church Challenge” book, the five-week series based on the biblical model of the church, found in the book of Acts, will challenge church congregations to devote themselves to authentic community, develop worship lifestyle, commit to spiritual growth, embrace stewardship and generous lifestyle and engage in sharing God’s love and the gospel with others.

The next National Back to Church Sunday is September 15, 2013. Churches are already registering at www.backtochurch.com/roster. Reports of this year and future plans are being posted at www.facebook.com/backtochurch.

National Back to Church Sunday (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.

LifeWay Christian Resources (www.lifeway.com), in operation since 1891, is one of the largest Christian resource organizations in the world. LifeWay Research exists for the purpose of equipping church leaders with insight that will lead to greater levels of ministry effectiveness through research-based books and reports based on statistically validated surveys. LifeWay Research is one of the most trusted sources of information about the church, culture and faith.

Millions Expected to Head Back to Church Sept. 16 in Response to Personal Invitations

National Back to Church Sunday

National Back to Church Sunday Draws Participation of More than 12,000 Congregations across the Country

COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. – On Sept. 16 millions of Americans are expected to take a bold step to return to church based on an invitation from a friend, family member, coworker or neighbor. National Back to Church Sunday, the largest collaborative outreach in the nation, provides the potential for people not only to find a church and deepen their relationship with God, but also to form lasting personal relationships.

With more than 12,000 churches registered to participate, people looking for a church in their community can search the National Back to Church Sunday roster online (www.backtochurch.com/roster).

Research reported by Thom Rainer in “The Unchurched Next Door” shows 82 percent of the unchurched are at least “somewhat likely” to respond positively to an invitation to attend church. “Nothing can surpass the effect of the personal invitation,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a supporting partner of National Back to Church Sunday.

Congregations across America are customizing National Back to Church Sunday to their own communities to reach people who no longer attend.

In Powder Springs, Ga., where church leaders estimate that 88 percent of their community does not attend church, Burnt Hickory Baptist Church offers their congregation a four-week Family Prayer Walk guide leading up to Sept. 16.  Beginning in August, weekly emphases have been directing families as they walk through their neighborhoods, pray for the residents, and look for opportunities to interact with neighbors in conversations and relationship-building.

“God’s heart is that Burnt Hickory families have a significant spiritual impact on their neighbors,” said Mike Stephens, senior pastor. “Prayer-walking is a simple discipline that our families can incorporate into their lives to develop a heart for those living around them and a greater understanding of what may be happening in their lives – all while taking a walk with our kids, getting exercise and sharing with them the importance of caring for others.”

The four-week prayer walk culminates in a commitment to invite neighbors to National Back to Church Sunday Sept. 16.

“National Back to Church Sunday is not a quick-fix or one-time solution. It is an opportunity for Christians to share ongoing grace and acceptance,” said Philip Nation, director of adult ministry publishing at LifeWay Research and spokesperson for National Back to Church Sunday. “Sept. 16 can be the portal for people to find their way not only back to church, but into to a loving, accepting church family where real relationships are built.”

To begin building these relational bridges, many churches are planning social events, in addition to their worship services on Sept. 16.  Aboite Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Ind., will host breakfast for interaction between the congregation and their guests. Citylight Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., is providing live music, face-painting for children, catered food and sporting activities.

The movement is also spreading to Canada. Zion Christian Reformed Church in Oshawa, Ontario, will participate in National Back to Church Sunday by hosting a concert with award-winning worship artist Hiram Joseph of Toronto.

Last year more than 7,600 congregations across America extended an estimated one million personal invitations for National Back to Church Sunday. Participating churches reported on average an increase of 25 percent in attendance on that Sunday.  Since its inception, more than 5 million invitations from more than 12,000 churches have been given.

Resources to help churches equip their members to invite others to rediscover church are still available (www.backtochurch.com). Social media such as “e-vites” (www.backtochurch.com/emailafriend) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/backtochurch) make it possible to extend invitations until the last minute.

National Back to Church Sunday (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.

LifeWay Christian Resources (www.lifeway.com), in operation since 1891, is one of the largest Christian resource organizations in the world. LifeWay Research exists for the purpose of equipping church leaders with insight that will lead to greater levels of ministry effectiveness through research-based books and reports based on statistically validated surveys. LifeWay Research is one of the most trusted sources of information about the church, culture and faith.

More Than 10,000 Churches to Date Sign on the Line to Bring People Back to Church

Up to 14,000 Congregations Expected for National Back to Church Sunday, Sept. 16
COLORADO SPRINGS, Co., Aug. 20, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — More than 10,000 congregations have committed to active participation in National Back to Church Sunday on Sept. 16. By registering their names and locations (www.backtochurch.com/roster), these congregations have signaled their intentions to invite family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, who, for a variety of reasons, no longer attend church.
The largest community outreach in the nation is expected to draw the participation of more than 14,000 churches.
Recent surveys show that 48 percent of church members have not invited an unchurched person to attend a worship service or other program at their church in the past six months. National Back to Church Sunday offers a unique opportunity for thousands of people across the nation to receive and respond to a personal invitation to go back to church.
 “The personal touch is the most effective means for churches to reach out to their communities,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, a supporting partner of National Back to Church Sunday. “Good news is best delivered by good messengers.”
Invitations to the unchurched are expected to skyrocket with the newest National Back to Church Sunday social media tools, such as “e-vites” and a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/backtochurch). The “Pastor Rap” video (http://backtochurch.com/videos) promoting the special Sunday has gone viral on YouTube and is being shared by thousands.
National Back to Church Sunday also offers a church kit (www.backtochurch.com/store), including a campaign planning guide, suggested sermons and graphics and widgets for church websites or social media.
“Citywide initiatives are multiplying the event’s effectiveness,” said Philip Nation, director of adult ministry publishing at LifeWay and spokesperson for National Back to Church Sunday. “Churches are encouraged to partner with one another to increase the scope of their reach into every community.”
Registration for National Back to Church (www.backtochurch.com/roster) is simple and free. With its search feature, newcomers and the curious can easily find a nearby church, and congregations can locate other participating churches to form partnerships.
National Back to Church Sunday has inspired churchgoers since 2009 to invite more than 2.6 million family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers to their churches. Last year, 3,800 churches participated, reporting an average of 26 percent increase in weekly attendance.
Churches are encouraged to sign up at www.backtochurch.com and begin equipping members to invite people to church on Sept. 16.
National Back to Church Sunday (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.
LifeWay Christian Resources (www.lifeway.com), in operation since 1891, is one of the largest Christian resource organizations in the world. LifeWay Research exists for the purpose of equipping church leaders with insight that will lead to greater levels of ministry effectiveness through research-based books and reports based on statistically validated surveys. LifeWay Research is one of the most trusted sources of information about the church, culture and faith.

Six Ways to Get People Back to Church

                                                                LifeWay Christian Resources

Congregations Fire Up Steps to Invite Family, Friends, Neighbors and Co-Workers to National Back to Church Sunday on Sept. 16 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Show the “Pastor Rap” video on Sunday. Get the word out on Facebook and Twitter. Order invitations and door hangers for members to use when they invite people back to church. These are three of the six ways church leaders can encourage members to invite family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to attend church on National Back to Church Sunday on Sept. 16 – now just six weeks away.

In what is becoming a national movement to help ignite a spiritual awakening in America, more than 14,000 churches are expected to invite people to come back to church on National Back to Church Sunday.

National Back to Church Sunday is based on the simple principle that 82% of people will come to church if invited by a friend, yet only 2% of church members invite their unchurched friends.

“In Houston more than 1.4 million people said they had gone to church, but half of those surveyed report they no longer attend,” said Pastor Rickie Bradshaw of the

in Houston, Tex. “National Back to Church Sunday is providing us a great opportunity to reach almost 750,000 people for Christ. Our churches are gearing up to invite them to come see what the Lord can do in their lives.”

Here are six ways churches can encourage their members to get ready for Back to Church Sunday:

  • Churches are praying for their communities, that God will prompt members to invite people to church and that hearts will be moved to accept.
  • Congregations are viewing and sharing the “Pastor Rap – Back to Church Sunday” video. Already viewed more than 64,000 times, the video is part of the Back to Church 2012 Church Kit, available at www.BacktoChurch.com/store. The kit also includes six other promotional videos, more than 60 digital resources, an e-book, e-vites, social media links, sermons and other materials.
  • Church members are using social media content for Facebook and Twitter. Organizers can exchange ideas on the National Back to Church Sunday Facebook page (www.facebook.com/backtochurch), while the event’s website (www.BacktoChurch.com) gives individuals an opportunity to extend electronic invitations to friends, relatives and colleagues.
  • Invitations, door hangers and other resources are helping church members reach out to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. These items can be ordered at www.BacktoChurch.com/store, or churches can order customized promotional items by calling 1-800-991-6011.
  • Back to Church Sunday School curriculum is also available for children to help provide a positive experience on Sept. 16 for every age group.
  • Churches are registering their names and locations on the National Back to Church Sunday roster, making it easy for people to find a church to attend on Sept. 16.  Registration is free and simple. A list of participating churches is available at www.BacktoChurch.com/roster.

Churches are encouraged to sign up at www.BacktoChurch.com and begin taking steps now to equip members to invite people to church on Sept. 16.

National Back to Church Sunday (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.

LifeWay Christian Resources, in operation since 1891, is one of the largest Christian resource organizations in the world. LifeWay Research exists for the purpose of equipping church leaders with insight that will lead to greater levels of ministry effectiveness through research-based books and reports based on statistically validated surveys. LifeWay Research is one of the most trusted sources of information about the church, culture and faith.

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