Outreach is always developing campaigns for churches to help you engage with your community. I’ve been blessed in having the opportunity to help with a couple of these projects over the years. I think my favorite though, is Back to Church Sunday. So many people are really struggling with life’s burdens in the current depression – and many of those are previous church goers.
As I did the research into the “target audience” of the de-churched, I was fascinated in the statistics and information available. But no amount of data can easily represent a wounded spirit, or disillusioned heart. Just how mature can the church be? Are we willing to own the things we’ve done wrong? And what about an invitation extended to them? Will it even be welcomed? How skeptical and anti-church are the de-churched? It’s one thing reaching out with a targeted and timely message to a totally unchurched person, but how do you break through the barriers that have been built up in the heart of someone who used to be there, but left?
As the campaign tools took shape and the project came together – I continued to reflect on their hearts. God seemed to whisper to me one day, “It’s not about the church – it’s about the people. I want my people back.” Huh! So what to do with that?? I stopped thinking and reflecting – and started writing instead, as if I was sitting across the table with one of those folk. I’ve heard so many of the reasons people come up with for not going to church. Why argue, when often they are right? Instead, I wanted to remind them that the church is no more perfect that anything else in their lives – because its made up of broken people – imperfect people loved by a perfect God. I wanted to re-kindle the sense of longing in their hearts – enough to want to return and try church again. The result of those “conversations” became the little publication – “Re-Discover Church” – one that is proving popular as an outreach tool for your church members to connect with the de-churched friends and family.
National Back to Church Sunday is coming up in September and more churches are beginning to engage in this amazing opportunity to re-connect with people who are not attending church on a regular basis. Maybe this is that “one chance” opportunity your church needs to connect with new people. Or even if you’re pretty outreach oriented, have you perhaps overlooked the “been there, done that” folk? Be part of the national movement – you have nothing to lose, and eternal results to achieve.