Church leaders in Mississippi and Florida work together to engage local residents
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Aug. 21, 2014 /Christian Newswire — A national movement is gaining momentum as tens of thousands of churches prepare to welcome several million people to services all on the same day, Back to Church Sunday® on September 21. And in some communities, churches are unifying to encourage everyone to get back to church on this special day.
Back to Church Sunday® is the largest annual community-based church outreach effort in the nation. The campaign empowers churches and their members with the tools they need to welcome their neighbors, friends and loved ones back to church, while providing an easy way for everyone in the community to find a welcoming church. For 2014’s sixth annual Back to Church Sunday®, 30,000 churches are expected to participate across Christian denominations, holding special services that leaders estimate could involve more than 3.34 million people around the world.
In Pearl, MS, more than 15 churches have joined together to invite all residents from the Jackson, MS area to come back to church. According to a pastor in Pearl, this is the first-ever effort for churches in their city to work together for participation in Back to Church Sunday.
The group has even garnered the support of their mayor. “I encourage Pearl residents to bring their families and reach out to their neighbors to participate in National Back to Church Sunday,” said Brad Rogers, mayor for the city of Pearl. “Having a church home strengthens families–and strong families and churches strengthen communities.”
In Deland, Florida, chaplains of the high school football team are using the community’s passion for football to encourage people to go back to church by showing Back to Church Sunday’s viral Pastor Rap video to 10,000 people attending games.
“A recent demographic study of our area confirmed a high percentage of residents have a traditional church background but most are not now attending church,” said Chuck Hassell, a local minister and co-chaplain for the football team.
“These people–literally raised in church–are the ones who need that invitation back to church. The Pastor Rap video works well for our community because it shows all different aspects and types of churches. Our message is this: select the church of your choice, but just go to church somewhere.”
Community efforts like these help propel the national movement forward, as more and more churches participate. There is no cost to join the movement at www.backtochurch.com, and by signing up churches then appear on a national listing that helps people in their communities connect with them.
“What an incredible testament to the heart of these cities, and the leaders of the churches there, to unite their community with the love of Christ,” said Scott Evans, founder and CEO of Outreach, Inc., the nation’s leading provider of church communications resources that helps support the Back to Church Sunday movement. “Our prayer is that more churches throughout the country will model this example until we reach every home.”
For more information about Back to Church Sunday, as well as videos and other resources available, visit www.backtochurch.com.