Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Best Way to Invite People

What is the best way to invite visitors to your church?

Hold a Special Sunday

What is this and how do you do it?

A Special Sunday is a planned worship service which is aimed and oriented at the needs of people both inside and outside the church. When correctly executed, you can expect an increase in attendance for that Sunday from 10% to 100% over your regular attendance. Here are the guidelines, but you can read more about this in my book "5 Keys for Church Leaders available through Church Publishing.

These must be compatible with the values, personality, and goals of your congregation.

You are limited only by the imagination of those doing the planning.

There are at least five areas that work for a special Sunday.

I. The recognition of special vocation or occupation: health care professionals (Near St. Luke’s Day), firemen, veterans, public education, Day School teachers, scouting.

II. Special liturgical days: 1st Sunday of Lent, Good Friday, All Saints, Pentecost, All Souls. (Remember that Palm Sunday has the largest number of present parish members attending.)

III. National Days: Martin Luther King, Veteran’s Day, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, World Hunger Day, etc.

IV. Others: The anniversary of the founding of the church, the patron saint day, mid-February marriage celebration, clergy ordination anniversary, long-time member recognition Sunday.

V. Community Concerns: keeping kids safe, keeping kids off drugs, Recovery Sunday, Single parents Sunday, Grandparents, etc.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. However, just scheduling a special Sunday will do little.

How to organize a Special Sunday

First, appoint a taskforce of 5 – 7 people who genuinely care about the topic.

Second, have them coordinate with the Preacher of the day and musicians.

Third, make a list of special people to invite.

Fourth, announce this weeks in advance.

Fifth, in the weeks before, announce it and have prayers for the day.

Sixth, encourage members to invite guests based on the theme.

Then, consider a large canvas red banner to drop over your sign or church building advertising the event.

· Plan a possible follow-up event to connect further. For example, a Christian counselor to speak to blended families.

Our first Special Sunday at the Cathedral was a "Harvest Sunday" on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. As part of this, we printed up invitation cards like business cards and gave them to our members for weeks ahead of time. We invited ANYONE in the food business to join us, waiters, caterers, wholesalers, resturant owners and managers. We had a 25% increase in our English Speaking service attendance and a 50% increase at our Spanish service. During the prayers of the people, we invited all such folks forward and annointed their hands with holy oil for their work. It was very moving.

Special Sundays work because it appeals to both un-churched folks and the 60% of your folks not normally in attendance on any given Sunday. BTW, that fast growing Bible Church down the street holds at least 20 Special Sundays a year.

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