- Saturate with Prayer
- Encourage Your People to Take the Plunge
- Prepare for Company
- Clarify Your Gospel Presentation
Saturate with Prayer
The very first step in preparing for Back to Church Sunday is to seek God in prayer… and that is what you are encouraged to continue to prioritize as you make your way through the final week of preparation.
Ask those prayer warriors and prayer groups in your church to focus their prayers in four specific ways:
- Praying for boldness as your people invite their friends, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, etc, to join them at church
- Praying for protection and encouragement for all of your ministry leaders and volunteers as they serve with compassion and a welcoming spirit
- Praying for wisdom and clarity as your pastor prepares and delivers the Gospel message and invites people to place their trust in Jesus
- Praying for openness from those who are hearing the salvation message, that they would take action and embrace the hope of Jesus
Encouraging Your People to Take the Plunge
You have been casting the vision of Back to Church Sunday to your people for weeks. And the core of Back to Church Sunday is to equip and encourage your people to make those invitations that they have been hesitant to make. You have challenged them to prayerfully consider who God is placing on their heart to invite. You have equipped them with invite cards, door hangers, social media posts to share, and other invitation tools. You have encouraged them with invite videos and prayer. You have publicly prayed week after week for those who are far from God in your community and for boldness to reach out to them.
Now, in these last few days, you need to make one final push for your people to step up and take action.
Many people hear your challenges, watch the videos, take the invite cards and pray for that person, but they have not yet made the actual invite. They are committed to the idea of introducing their friend, neighbor or coworker to Jesus… to inviting them to experience the beauty of the local church and hear the gospel clearly presented. However, many need a gentle push to take action. Now is the time to come alongside them and lead them to step out and put all that you have been championing into action.
Take time right now to send out a text, email or perhaps even have your ministry leaders make phone calls to your people. Let them know you are praying for them and for the person they are inviting. Tell them how excited you are to see how God is working through them to reach others. Let them know you are looking forward to meeting the person they invite and ask them to be sure to introduce them to you on Sunday. This may be just the added touch they need to make that invitation.
Prepare for Company
When we know special guests are coming to our home, we take steps to ensure they feel welcomed. The same is true with our spiritual home, and you know company is coming for your celebration. Make time this week to walk through your church facilities, from the parking lot to the bathrooms, children’s areas to the lobby, and everywhere in between. Keep your eyes open for anything that might look out of place or clutter that has gone unnoticed. Do your children’s areas appear fresh, clean and safe? Is your entryway inviting? Would a new family feel as if you were expecting them to arrive, ready to welcome them?
Here are two important ways your church can prepare to let everyone who walks through your doors know you are thinking of them
- Start, and End, with a Smile – A first impression leaves a lasting impression so make the time to connect with your hospitality team and encourage them. Remind them that their ministry is vital and welcoming people helps set the tone for their entire experience. Pray over these ministry leaders and volunteers and pray for the guests with whom they will interact. Be sure greeters will be proactive in helping guests find children’s ministry areas, coffee and refreshments, seats in your worship center, restrooms, next steps, and other key places. Have your team be prepared to connect with guests at the close of your worship celebration, perhaps with a special gift book or other item to thank them for joining you.
- Clarify Next Steps – Ultimately, we are called to make disciples. To effectively live out this calling as a church, we must develop relationships with those that join us for worship. As you invite your community to celebrate BTCS, be thinking through the next steps for every guest. How can you build on this initial connection and truly get to know those who have come? To learn more about planning clear next steps, check out this article.
We are living in a time when people are seeking hope and are hungry for meaningful relationships. Jesus is our hope, and you are actively introducing people to both Jesus and His church. We are praying for every church as you are reaching your communities this fall through the National Back to Church Sunday movement. Be sure to join other participating churches in our BTCS facebook group for ongoing encouragement and to celebrate together all that God is doing in and through His Church!
Clarify Your Gospel Presentation
This weekend, there will be people walking through your church doors who find themselves in great brokenness. They may be sincerely searching for something, or they may just be appeasing a friend who invited them. Whatever brings them to your church, we all know God desires to bless their lives with wholeness and healing. This is an incredible opportunity to extend the hope and truth of Jesus in a way that connects with them and encourages them to respond.
This week, spend focused time in prayer and preparation on how you will present the gospel. Think through the fact that many of your guests may be unfamiliar with church, so be sure that you communicate clearly in a manner that will meet them where they are and help them to see the beauty of Christ’s forgiveness. Reach out and ask others to be praying for you as you preach and for those who will be listening this weekend.
We believe God is going to do a mighty work through your church, and churches across the country, as we celebrate National Back to Church Sunday together! Know that our team is lifting you up in prayer and we look forward to hearing and seeing the great reports from your church as God is glorified and lives are transformed by Jesus. Be sure to share photos and stories of your Back to Church Sunday in the Facebook group so we can all celebrate TOGETHER!