Churches throughout Salt Lake Valley participated in National Back to Church Sunday on Sept. 15 with special campaigns, parties and sermons.
National Back to Church Sunday is an event sponsored by Outreach.com. The event is designed to get people of all denominations to go to church.
This year, 21,942 churches across the nation registered with backtochurch.com in an effort to make a place for potential church-goers to find a place to worship. Registered churches receive access to a Back to Church kit, which includes everything from postcards to sermons to videos.
Lorianne Tryon, office manager for Southeast Christian Church in Murray, utilized these resources.
“We sent out postcards to prior visitors and also to folks we haven’t seen in awhile that may not be plugged into another church,” said Tryon. “We have also been offering postcards to our congregation to invite friends and family back to church as well. We will be welcoming to those who enter our doors, as we are every Sunday.”
Laurie Marino, office manager for Freedom Worship Center, also had invite cards available to church members to use freely. Marino said the invites laid out a three-Sunday sermon series culminating in a big finale service called No Excuse Sunday and followed by a big potluck dinner.
“No Excuse Sunday will focus on the justifications people give to not go to church,” said Marino. “It’s basically just for people to take down their barriers and objections with going to church.”
Pastor Sid Casillas, the senior associate pastor at Lifechurch, expressed similar goals for the organization’s fall campaign.
“Here at Lifechurch, every fall we try to get our people thinking again about coming back to church after summer vacation has taken them up into the mountains or other various places for relaxation,” said Casillas. “This year our campaign is called the Hope Campaign. It’s based on My Hope for America with Billy Graham, a national event. We took that theme of hope and put together our six-week campaign, and that’s where the idea came from.”
The campaign involves training members on how to reach out to nonbelievers.
Lifechurch’s training process first starts with a message on Sunday morning, followed by discussion questions about the sermon that patrons then take to their home group meetings, where members come together to further study the material.
“In addition to home groups, we also offer Wednesday-night Life classes, which are both centered around the Hope Campaign and … allow for interaction and discussion among members,” said Casillas.
Lifechurch has gone even further in trying to encourage people to come to church. Casillas said the Hope Campaign carries the same goal of Come Back to Church Day: to get their people and new people to come back to church.
“Remember, although most people in America have been to church, only about 20% attend regularly,” said Scott Evans, founder and CEO of Outreach.com, on Back to Church’s website. “Yet research shows most people would try it if someone just invited them.”