Saturday, September 12, 2009

Extra Helping of Welcoming

Washington Post-

Autumn brings the end of beach weekends, boating and picnics and the resurgence of school, football -- and church.

In an effort to refocus the attention of parishioners and possibly attract newcomers and the disaffected, many churches borrow a page from universities and designate a Sunday in September as a "homecoming." Although the idea reaches back a couple of centuries for some parishes, it is taking on a more organized feel in the United States and Britain.

This year, the Christian communications organization Outreach Inc., based in Vista, Calif., started a campaign declaring this Sunday as "Back to Church Sunday" and offering a free tool kit that includes a "campaign planning guide," promotional materials and a booklet, "Rethink Church."

According to Outreach's Web site, the campaign is "designed to increase church attendance by empowering church members with the tools they need to welcome neighbors, friends, and loved ones back to church."

In an interview, Outreach founder and chief executive Scott Evans said a recent study by Southern Baptist-affiliated Lifeway Research sparked the campaign. The study found that "82 percent of people who don't go to church would be somewhat likely to go if invited but that only 2 percent of people who do go to church had invited someone," he said. Outreach, Evans said, is "equipping people to be inviters."

More here-

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