In New Zealand 44 parishes of 61 in the Wellington Anglican Diocese were involved. This included Anglican churches in the geographical area from Wanganui to the Wairarapa and down to Wellington. In 2009 all Anglican Dioceses in New Zealand were involved along with members of the Baptist Church.
In year five of the programme in the UK, Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, the United Reform Church, and Elim Pentecostal churches took part along with churches in Canada. In 2009 churches in Australia were also involved.
For members of the congregations the project is about relationships and hospitality. They are encouraged to choose someone they know who used to come to church, invite them to come, collect them on the Sunday and simply ‘bring them back’.
Research by the Diocese of Lichfield after Back to Church Sunday 2007 suggested that 6,000 people came back to church on that day and that, six months later, between 700 and 900 (12-15 per cent) had become regular members. About a further 3,000 are still in touch with their inviting churches and may have come at Christmas or to a social event.
The Archdeacon for Mission for the Wellington Diocese, Tony Gerritsen, reported that parishes have averaged just over 20 people per ministry unit coming back. Parishes have valued the resource material sent from the UK, but all say that the personal invitations were the great success card.
Anecdotes to date are great and the Wellington Diocese used the 4 months prior to the event as a chance to do a full WOF check of each parish from the quality of worship to the state of the toilets and the existance of websites and welcome packs. It’s been a wonderful success, says Archdeacon Gerritsen with a high level of enthusiasm for next year. It will occur on 12 September in 2010, a time preferred by most as it’s the beginning of Spring and a quieter time in the church calendar.
Back to Church Sunday – a world wide success and VERY simple to implement with great Kingdom gains and success
Click here for some resources to Follow Up those returning to church.
Click here for some ideas for Group Studies.
Click here for some Sermons relevant to Back to Church Sunday.
Click here for feedback about:
Back to Church 2010
Back to Church 2009
Click here for UK Back 2 Church website