Back to Church Sunday

September 13 is “National Back to Church Sunday”, proving once and for all the church itself is the church’s worst enemy. Only a step above the western-themed “Round Up Sunday” and more nebulous “Friend Day”, National Back to Church Sunday even has a terribly awful logo to go with it.  Honestly, if I were currently unchurched I would probably avoid church on September 13 just to make a point about the logo… not to mention what the campaign implies.

What the unchurched world doesn’t need is another cheezy campaign to get people in the doors of churches that coudn’t otherwise care about them.  We trick them into coming one Sunday of the year and then ignore them the other 51.

The Back to Church website lists hypocrisy, judgmentalism, and cliques as the primary reasons for quitting church in the first place.  In order to get these folks back into church, Outreach, Inc. (who sponsors the campaign) suggests spending SIX WEEKS planning for visitors.

Simply put:

  1. If a church goes six weeks without a visitor, THERE IS A PROBLEM.
  2. If it takes six weeks for a church to prepare for a visitor, THERE IS A PROBLEM.

They suggest:

  1. Getting the facilities ready for guests.
  2. Training greeters on how to be welcoming.
  3. Deciding the sermon/flow early and use it to engage people.
  4. Provide resources to congregants to use for inviting.
  5. Make the restrooms clean and fully-functional
  6. etc., etc.

[insert expletive].  ARE THEY KIDDING?!?!  It’s not bad enough that we have to have a specific Sunday where we plan to invite people to church… but now we have to begin doing a list of things that we should be doing EVERY SINGLE WEEK OF THE YEAR!

Do these churches exist?

Sadly, they do.  And these churches are precisely why people became de-churched in the first place.  Hypocrisy, cliques, and judgmentalism.

So to all of those churches who are planning to celebrate National Back to Church Sunday, and then take the next 51 weeks off… do all of us a favor… DON’T!

And perhaps, that is the point of all of this.

There are many churches that are a mess.  They’ve lost their focus, turned inward, and become more of a club than a community of God.  Sadly, what these churches need is not a cliche’d Back to Church Sunday, it’s a new fervor for the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20)… and perhaps a renewal of the Holy Spirit.

But if you are a church that really wants to make a change and reach out… visit and start making changes.  But don’t invite Joe Unchurched on September 13th.  Get your church in order, and trust me, they’ll start coming on their own.  You won’t be able to keep them away.