Tips for a Successful Back to Church Sunday
As your community heads back to school and back to work—invite them to also return to church. Register your church for Back to Church Sunday to gain access to tons of tools and a kit that will help you plan.
As part of your Back to Church Sunday campaign, invite your neighbors over for a church “open house.” This is a fantastic opportunity to meet new faces and connect them with ministries and resources. An event like this will equip churchgoers with an invite-able event and encourages them to actively participate in the life of the church.
Here are a few key concepts to think on when planning your Back to Church Sunday.
Prepping: Time for a Makeover
Put on your visitor goggles and take a good hard look at your church. Tidy up for church visitors, just like you would for houseguests. Assess the cosmetic, functional and hospitality components that might make your church seem unwelcoming. The goal is to treat each guest like a VIP.
• Grounds: Is your landscaping weed-free, neat, clean and attractive?
• Parking: Are spots for the disabled and visitors available at the front of your church? Would parking attendants be helpful?
• Accessibility: Is your church accessible for the disabled? Are appropriate accommodations available to people once inside? Consider elements such as seating, restrooms and ramps.
• Signage: If you didn’t know where the main sanctuary, restrooms and child care were, would they be easy to find without assistance?
• Comfort: Is it comfortable to enter the building? Are the temperature, odor, lighting and seating comfortable for everyone?
• Eyesores: Are there any outdated or shabby items that should be replaced? Consider flooring, lights, seating, pulpit, wall hangings, audio-visual systems or hymnals that should be updated.
• Bathrooms: Are your restrooms clean, fresh, stocked and easy to find?
• Lobby: Is your lobby area welcoming and uncluttered? Do you have sufficient greeters? Are all items on your information table neat, stocked and current?
• Culture of Hospitality: Are people naturally friendly and welcoming at your church? How could you enculturate your church to embrace newcomers?
• Children’s Ministry: Does it inspire a feeling of safety and fun for visitors? Is it easy to find?
Planning: The Experience
Consider your surrounding community and what might appeal to them during your event.
• Promotion: Consider a postcard mailer or door hanger invite. Equip churchgoers to invite their neighbors with small invitation cards or flyers. Or, check out the specific Back to Church Sunday promotional tools. Set up a Facebook event page, and blog or tweet about the featured activities.
• Check-in: As guests enter, give them an event program. Collect contact information in exchange for raffle tickets.
• Exhibit Area: Ask each ministry to set up an information table with upcoming events, ways to connect, small giveaways, and activities (i.e. the children’s ministry could host a bounce house or kids’ zone).
• Food: Provide seating and some light refreshments or a barbecue. Consider adding a fun contest element like a chili cook-off, etc.
• Entertainment: Set up a stage area, and invite various ministries to contribute music, arts, dance or another visual performance.
• Facilities: Provide easy access to restrooms, a diaper-changing and private nursing area.
• Tours: Provide guided tours of the church with a brief description of various ministries available.
• Introductions: Invite the pastors to share a bit about each ministry from stage throughout the event.
• Door Prizes: Consider items from the church bookstore, tickets to events, or fun giveaways from each ministry. Raffle tickets could be given away at each booth (as an incentive for visiting booths), or collected at each booth (for prizes specific to that ministry’s demographic).
Additional Back to Church Sunday Resources from Outreach magazine