Anglican Diocese of Wellington
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Back to Church Sunday 2010 - 12 September




Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this:
'Love your neighbour as yourself.'
There is no commandment greater than these."
Mark 12:30-31

Update 16 September:

Dear Friends

For those of us here in Canterbury it’s been a week so many of us will want to forget, however the reminders are all around us. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you who have lost your possessions, your homes and even your livelihoods.

Thankfully human lives have been spared and our city and surrounding areas will be rebuilt. One thing that has been evidenced during this week is the huge community spirit, the real “love your neighbour” attitude in action.

This attitude is not one that should be reserved for times of disaster and crisis but is one our Lord commanded us to be displaying always. And so to my message written last week, but never sent, however I feel totally appropriate not only for the people of Canterbury but for us all....

The church family has been fervently praying, the church is looking great, the welcomers have been briefed, fresh coffee and yummy food is on the menu, the invitations have been made, the congregation is all set to go and collect their friends and bring them to church next Sunday (or for some this Sunday) and my prayer is that each of you will double your congregation in a day and that your friends will experience something of God’s love for them as they worship with you on Back to Church Sunday.

BUT..... Back to Church Sunday is not about numbers, yes Michael’s vision for this year is to have 1,000,000 Christians invite their friends to church on one day, but more than that we want for the Kingdom of God to be expanded here on Earth and that we would do as Jesus commanded us:
 

  • "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
    baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
    and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
    And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
    Mathew 28: 19 & 20

God is at work in New Zealand and we need to be prepared, not only on Back to Church Sunday, but before, during and beyond, to befriend, nurture and grow those who come to our congregation and see something of Jesus and want to know more.

For follow up ideas I can do no better than to point you in the direction of the Wellington Diocese website – who have done my work for me – click this link, or copy and paste it into your browser to find some helpful thoughts and suggestions as to what to do next: Follow-up.

In addition remember that simple acts of hospitality and community acts of kindness go a long way to growing friendship and building relationships within a community:

  • Invite your neighbour for a meal
  • Provide food parcels for those in your community struggling to make ends meet
  • Have a supply of meals available for new mums or the family/individual who unexpectedly finds themselves in a crisis situation
  • Have a working bee to pick up litter around the streets in your community

Whatever works best for your church in the way of follow up, it is important that your congregation feels a sense of ownership in whatever project they choose to undertake.

Feedback:

When you have had your Back to Church Sunday event please do send me your feedback and email photos and videos if you have them to info@backtochurchsunday.co.nz. I would love to be able to share the good news stories as well as hear any comments and observations you have about the experience.

I value your comments and insights which will help to make Back to Church Sunday 2011 even better. There is a feedback form available online at the website for you to use: Feedback form.

I do encourage you to submit your feedback as soon as possible of your Back to Church Sunday event, while it is still fresh in your mind.


Blessings.

Claire Onslow
Back to Church Sunday Administrator NZ
03 331 7244
0212 644 069

 




Update 9 September:

Countdown over.......

May your Parishioners be the people they were made to be this Sunday and every other, may those coming back find love, truth, grace and mercy. At All Saints Hataitai-Kilbirnie we are having our new Vicar Simon Winn installed and are looking forward to welcoming many old and new faces as we celebrate.

Many thanks to Claire Onslow for inspiring you with her wisdom during the countdown to Back to Church Sunday – as the Bulletin deadline looms I am guessing her thoughts are probably on pulling her family through their first New Zealand earthquake rather than a "blurb" for this week. Please add Claire and her family to your prayers.

Blessings to you all and I look forward to following up on your B2C experience.

Ginny McCarty

For queries and more information, please contact our Diocesan BTCS Co-ordinator, Ginny McCarty on telephone 04 9739303 or 021 1450398, or email her at mccarty@paradise.net.nz.

 




Update 2 September:

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer,
believe that you have received it, and it will be yours
Mark 11:24 

Dear Friends


With only two weeks until Back to Church Sunday, preparations are gathering speed.

Back to Church Sunday on Air

Our 2010 radio ads have been created for air play now and in the week before Back to Church Sunday. Thanks to the CBA team you can download them free of charge by going to Radio Ads. With your help we hope to get it heard by thousands on local radio stations across the country. It’s not too late to club together with nearby churches and approach your local radio station to get it played a few times every day between 6 and 12 September. To find other participating churches in your area, contact your champion or check on the website http://backtochurchsunday.co.nz/contacts/find-a-participating-church. Do remember when searching to put a specific location in the address field, e.g., town, city or suburb.

Welcoming Children

Please follow the link for a document with advice on welcoming families and small children to your church.

Back to Church Don'ts

From the UK, the Armstrong and Miller Show created three parody sketches about getting people back to church. You may or may not like to entertain your congregation with these videos before explaining how it should be done? Click the link to view and download the sketches http://www.vimeo.com/8992719.

Back to Church Do’s

  • Do remember Back to Church Sunday is about friendship, a friend inviting a friend
  • Do continue to pray for each other and those you will be inviting (see below)
  • Do make the invitation to your friend to come to church with you
  • Do pick up your friend – encourage your congregation to pick up their friend on BTCS. Church starts the moment they/you knock on the door to go and pick your friend up.
  • Do encourage your congregation to introduce their friend to other friends within the church, who they have something in common with - not just a friendly church but a befriending church.
  • Do assume that that the person you invited will be coming the next time you have a church service – encourage your congregation to ask their friend “shall we do this again next week or next time?”

The Power of Prayer

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
                          Phil 4:6


As we get closer to Back to Church Sunday, continue to pray for each other, and those we will be inviting to join us. If you'd like some direction as you pray for those you are inviting why not pray the prayer below? (It's also on the back of the invitation/prayer cards so you can stick it on your fridge to remind you to pray!)



  • Welcoming God, thank you for life.
    Thank you for making us and loving us.
    Thank you for inviting us to know you.
    Help us to invite (your friend's name here) to church so they can know you too.
    Please bless Back to Church Sunday everywhere.
    Help us all to know you better.
    We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Have a great week.
Blessings

 

 

Claire Onslow
Back to Church Sunday Administrator NZ
03 331 7244
212 644 069

 




Update 26 August:

 

 

 


May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and
by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your
hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
 

Dear Friends

In three weeks’ time friends and neighbours will be entering your church for Back to Church Sunday. They may be a little apprehensive, so it's important to make them feel welcome and at ease. If you're not already planning how to welcome your visitors, now's the time to get organised. Below are a few thoughts to get you started, remember the aim is to make it as easy as possible for a guest to arrive onto your property, for them to feel genuinely welcomed and to know where to go without hassle.

A Warm Welcome

  1. All welcomers to wear name badges.
  2. All welcomers to be dressed appropriately for the service they are attending, e.g., for a conservative traditional service you would not encourage shorts and T shirts, but maybe shorts and T shirts would be appropriate for a youth service.
  3. Smile at each guest and simply say ‘Welcome to Back to Church Sunday’, then point them in the direction they need to go, including letting them know about what's on offer for children if they have children with them.
  4. Have your people strategically along the path, pointing in the right direction. This is especially needed if your site is unclear as to how to enter.
  5. Do not swamp with kindness each guest that comes. This may scare them and they may not wish to continue being welcomed.
  6. Stay in your designated position until 10 to 15minutes after the service has started. It is common that people are late, and if they do not have someone saying welcome and pointing in the right direction when they are late, they may well go home.
  7. The ‘welcome’ task continues after the service by going up to guests and introducing yourself.
  8. If possible introduce the guest to another member of the church. It is known that a guest needs to make three or four introductions for them to fully feel welcomed. It is also known that if these introductions are made then it is more likely that the person may return.
  9. Passing plates of food around is a terrific way of meeting new people. When you offer food to a stranger you can introduce yourself and ask how they came to attend BTCS.

Resources

There are a few printed invitation and poster packs still available. If you need more or know of another church in your area that would like to participate but is not currently registered, do contact me via info@backtochurchsunday.co.nz.

Have a great week.

Blessings,

Claire Onslow
Back to Church Sunday Administrator NZ
03 331 7244
212 644 069





Update 19 August:

 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the
same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all
the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
Romans 12: 4 - 6a

Dear Friends

I would encourage you to keep those verses in mind as you work together on Back to Church Sunday. One of the things I love about BTCS is that it is for everyone from the youngsters in children’s church to the oldest member of your congregation; it’s personal, a friend inviting a friend.

I have been so encouraged this week to see BTCS information out there on your websites, to receive emails telling me of how you are promoting BTCS, requests for more invitations and a wonderful phone call from such an enthusiastic Vicar. So many of you are embracing the vision to get your whole congregation involved, be encouraged that God is certainly at work and you as enthusiastic participants will be blessed.

“As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain.
For he says, ‘In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’
I tell you, now is the time of God's favour, now is the day of salvation.”
2 Corinthians 6:1 – 2

 

Encourage Your Children to Get Involved

Often children have less hang ups than grown-ups about asking their friends to come to church so do encourage your children to be part of this initiative.

I learned recently of one youth group who last year had a pyjama party and invited their friends along – what a wonderful idea to get the youth involved. Perhaps you have other ideas that you are doing this year to promote BTCS which are novel or different, I’d love to hear about them.

 

Sermon Resources

I can tell you with absolute assurance that I am in no way qualified to be able to write these for you myself. However, the UK team have produced some resources that you may find useful. These are freely available to download on the following link: Resources. If there is anyone out there who would be interested in working to produce some suitable resources for next year’s BTCS please do let me know, it would be great to use something that has been produced here in New Zealand in 2011.

 

New Service Resources

For the first time, the team in the UK have created meditation resources to help lead your congregation into Back to Church Sunday. Do be aware they are dated for the UK whose BTCS is 2 weeks after NZ. Click the link to download the meditations.

 

Prayer

Do continue to hold this initiative up in prayer:

  • for God to be preparing the hearts of our friends who we are seeking to invite
  • for us to be open to hearing from God who He has been preparing for us to invite
  • for all the invitations that are going to be made, that fear of asking would be overcome
  • that our friends would overcome their fear of coming to church
  • that on the day itself our friends would see in us and our churches the love that Jesus displayed.

I recently read this passage, it challenged me enormously – I hope you’ll allow my indulgence to share it with you.....

“Unlike other associations which are based on common interest or outlook, the church is to be marked by an inclusiveness which echoes the universal appeal of Jesus. It is designated as a community which welcomes all people, irrespective of background, age, gender, colour, moral history, social status, influence, intelligence, religious background or the lack of it. To love like Jesus is to love inclusively, indiscriminately and universally. When that kind of love flows within a congregation the world will take note that they have been with Jesus."

What an awesome thing that would be and it is my prayer for Back to Church Sunday, that when your friends leave your church that day they would “take note that they have been with Jesus”, because of the love they have seen in your church that day.

Blessings

Claire Onslow
Back to Church Sunday Administrator NZ
03 331 7244
212 644 069

 


 

Update 11 August:

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.   Isaiah 40:31

 

Dear Friends

This week I'm delighted to be able to give you the opportunity to hear some words of encouragement from Michael Harvey (Back to Church Sunday Development Manager from the UK). Michael has recorded a series of short films one for each of the 12 steps of becoming an inviting church. The first film has a kiwi flavour with Tony Gerritsen (Anglican Diocese of Wellington) sharing his thoughts.

“From Nova Scotia to Vancouver

From Brisbane to Tasmania

From Dunedin to Auckland

From Carlisle to Plymouth

From County Cork to Lisburn

From Bangor to Haverfordwest

From Aberdeen to Galloway

The journey to see one million Christians invite one million friends is nearly over in 2010. Thousands of church leaders have participated in the nearly two hour Unlocking the Growth Seminar. On the journey I recorded twelve five minute films; one for each of the 12 steps of becoming an inviting church. I wanted to elicit more wisdom from church leaders who have participated previously and to remind those who have attended the Seminar at this critical time of preparation. So please find the release of the first four films Vision, Modelling, Cascading and the Gift of Friendship on the website below. United Christian Broadcasting will be showing the films in the UK on a rolling basis on UCB TV, and it is hoped other Christian TV stations around the world will follow suit.

http://www.mjhassociates.org.uk/?m=201008

 

BTCS Website

The BTCS Website is now up and running, if you haven't yet sent me your church details (address, including postcode) website if you have it, etc and would like them included please drop me an email. If you have already emailed your details I hope to have them loaded by the end of this weekend.

Enjoy watching Michael's films.

Blessings

Claire Onslow
Back to Church Sunday Administrator NZ
03 331 7244
212 644 069

 


Update 22 July:

Claire Onslow of Christchurch is the New Zealand Back to Church Sunday Administrator. Claire has been given the email addresses of all our Parishes registered for Back to Church Sunday.

As we start the countdown to September 12 Claire will be emailing you direct and these will be posted here weekly. Here are more of her thoughts as we continue our preparation for Back to Church Sunday:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

 

“Dear Friends

This week it is blatant plagiarism (with permission from Tony Gerritsen, the original author). For many of you these tongue in cheek statements will be familiar, perhaps they can act as a good reminder, for others you may not have seen these before.  For all an opportunity to reflect on how you would answer and make changes if appropriate – more to follow next week...

Everyone wears name tags @ our church...!

*  Does everyone have a nametag?

*  Are the Christian names large?

*  Encourage wearing of name tags: From the pulpit, In the newsletter, by the greeters at the door.

*  Might a ‘visual’ person speak briefly on why they value seeing a person’s name?

Fantastic toilets @ our church...!

Many church toilets are well below standard:

*  Are they easily located? Good signage?

*  Is it time for a paint?

*  Can they be up-marketed?  Paper towels, Proper sanitary disposal containers, Soft toilet paper, Air freshener, New toilet brush needed?

Everyone just loves Vanilla Wine biscuits...!

*  Would you serve these at home?

*  Time for a muffin roster?

*  If 16 people @ two people each week provided better quality food with the coffee, that would mean only once every two months – can you find 16 people to do that?

*  Check out those with the gift of hospitality in your congregation

 

Of course we are praying for success...!

Prayer is the under-girding of this initiative, as you work towards 12 September might you:

*  Get this on the Parish prayer chain weekly

*  Ask for a regular inclusion in the intercessions

*  Invite people to start asking God who He wishes them to invite ‘back to church’

*  Prepare, diary and advertise at least one prayer-based event prior to Sunday 12 September

Sure the web page is up to date...!

*  If you have a web site is it connected to the Diocesan website?

*  Could it look better? Ask someone under 20 to critique it.

*  Have you got information on Back to Church Sunday on your website?

We regularly have sermons on hospitality....!

*  There are lots to whet your appetite by just Googling ‘Sermons on Hospitality’.

*  Bill Hybels says there are eight themes that should be preached through each year and one is hospitality

Last Sunday I talked to two new people...!

This is a tough one, people like talking to people they know... and like. Fears are high when relating to new people. Not the thing for introverts so:

*  Invite a newcomer to come and be interviewed on how an early contact with a Parishioner changed things for them.

*  Maybe turn it into a bit of a game ... when they’ve chatted to two people new to them they come and get a chocolate fish from you? Sounds terrible?! Maybe you have a better incentive, if you do let me know so I can share it with others!

*  Is it time to get a team of support people on your side?

Blessings,

Claire Onslow, Back to Church Sunday Administrator New Zealand
03 331 7244 or 0212 644 069   claireonslow@yahoo.co.uk

 


 

Update 15 July:

Claire Onslow of Christchurch is the New Zealand Back to Church Sunday Administrator. Claire has been given the email addresses of all our Parishes registered for Back to Church Sunday. As we start the countdown to September 12 Claire will be emailing you direct and these will be posted here weekly. Here are her first thoughts as we continue our preparation for Back to Church Sunday:

“Dear All

    • Pray regularly that God will bless and draw people to Himself through this initiative
    • As a church leader, set the vision of Back to Church Sunday with Parishioners
    • Mobilise your church to be praying for those who you will inviting to BTCS
    • Lead by example in sharing regularly who you are praying for and will be inviting to BTCS
    • Celebrate when you know of invitations being extended. I was so encouraged by the words of Jan Clark from Holy Cross @ St Kilda about their 2009 experience of BTCS – "I am thrilled not just because of the people who actually accepted an invite back to church but because I would estimate 75% of our people invited someone back. This is part of our success story."  Success is one – one personal invitation of one church member to one friend.
    • Publicise throughout July, August and early September that BTCS is coming up
    • Personal Invitation is what BTCS is all about, ‘a friend inviting a friend’ back to church. We have discovered that bulk mail outs are not a successful way of inviting people back to church. However, we do encourage checking church registers and personally inviting locals who have had a connection with the church but are not necessarily attending regularly
    • Encourage members to start conversations about BTCS and give invitations to friends no earlier than the beginning of August
    • Plan the services for the day and be sure to train your welcomers (even though they may have been a welcomer for years at church). This is an opportunity for new participation from your members so include enthusiastic people – they are your greatest resource for a warm welcome
    • Be prepared, you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy BTCS will be when you have prepared to the best of your ability

I (Claire) would like to get some New Zealand content video on the upcoming NZ BTCS website – did you record anything from last year? Would you consider recording something on BTCS this year which we could use? Do let me know if you have anything you think we could use or if you would be willing to make a short recording this year.

Blessings

Claire Onslow, Back to Church Sunday Administrator New Zealand
03 331 7244 or 0212 644 069
claireonslow@yahoo.co.uk

 

Your Invite and Poster Packs should be with you by now and if they are not, please contact our BTCS Co-ordinator, Ginny McCarty on telephone 04 973 9303 or 021 145 0398, or email her at mccarty@paradise.net.nz.

 


Update 8 July:

Your invitations and poster packs were sent to your Parish office this week. If you require more invitations we have some spare, but if you require more posters please download the artwork here.

In the Ministry at the Door Booklet by Right Reverend Dr Thomas and Dwyllis Brown they conclude “to have a team of people practising their ministry of hospitality, care and outreach at the doorway of the church is a step in the right direction”. So purchase this invaluable booklet from the Resource Centre, email resources@wn.ang.org.nz or telephone 04 473 7104, for $5.00, if you haven't already, and have the welcome team build themselves to ensure allcomers find the friend they're looking for, not just friendliness!

Another key principle to the success of Back to Church Sunday is the principle of “a friend inviting a friend” to join them at church. When distributing the invitations to your congregation it can be kept that simple. They only need to say to a friend “would you like to come to church with me on .........” and God will do the rest.

 

 

 


Update 17 June:

Have a look at the website www.baptist.org.nz, where there are many helpful resources for Back to Church Sunday. Today's excerpt from the "Inside Out Worship" document:

"And what about our leaflets and publications? If someone took our church magazine home, would they be able to learn from it what we believe and how they could share in it. I used to work for a large engineering company and spent a fair bit of my time visiting a number of our suppliers. One thing that impressed itself upon me was what I learned in the five minutes I spent in Reception. I had usually gleaned from a selection of well lit displays, photographs and posters exactly what their product range was, how and where it was made and something of the ethos and size of the company making it. Our ‘product’ is something of far greater worth, but that is something that is seldom so obviously on display when people enter our doors.

“I am not appealing here for our church life to be turned into some sterile, formal set of procedures where the congregation is treated more like a cinema audience. What I am suggesting is that we continually look at ourselves and the things that we do from an outsider’s point of view. Otherwise the ties that bind us can too easily become rope-barriers to those who have yet to find their way into God’s family. No matter how wonderful our message, if people do not feel relaxed, comfortable and included when they are with us, they are unlikely to hang around long enough to hear it."

 


Update 10 June:

If you haven't already, it's time to make the congregation aware of Back to Church Sunday and include it in your prayer opportunities. Follow up with people with these giftings to get you moving:

 

      • Co-ordinator – someone who is good with checklists and chasing people up
      • Premises person – to galvanise the church into ensuring the premises are welcoming (signage, toilets, litter, noticeboards, coffee, etc.) – some churches may find a working bee or two will help unite people
      • Media genius – to keep the project in front of the congregation, and also to get profile in secular media locally

 

On the website www.baptist.org.nz, there are many helpful resources for Back to Church Sunday. This week's excerpt from the “How to Guide” will help you reinforce the concept with your Parish:

      • "An estimated four Kiwis out of every ten have some form of church background (including Sunday School). Many of these are open to a friendly invitation back.
      • Back to Church Sunday is a simple, proven way of empowering our church people to make the all important personal invitation to their friends or family members who have drifted from church, or to those they believe may be warm to visiting church.
      • Making such an invitation is a low impact, do-able thing for most people. People generally respond well to the concept of Back to Church Sunday, partly because it is such a simple idea. It is not too hard or too intimidating, and the cringe-factor is low!

Along with prayer, the key to a successful Back to Church Sunday is undoubtedly motivating people to make personal invitations among family, friends and workmates. Concentrate on that fact, and encourage a sense of ownership of Back to Church Sunday throughout the congregation. People who are praying and inviting friends will see Back to Church Sunday as their opportunity, not merely the Pastor’s latest bright idea!"

 


Update 3 June:

Thank you so much for your registrations. 43 Parishes in the Diocese have registered and I look forward to sending you your invitation and poster packs early July.

The Back to Church logo and the “Come as you are” poster may be downloaded.

Back to Church logo         jpg      Come as you are poster      jpg

(when the image opens in your browser,
click it and right mouse click 'Save Picture As', and save on your computer.)

or they can be emailed to you by request to Karen on email karen@wn.ang.org.nz.   These can be used freely in your service sheets or on other invitational material.

On the website www.baptist.org.nz, there are many helpful resources for Back to Church Sunday. An excerpt from the “How to" Guide may help you get started or re-energise you in this mission ...

Find THREE people with different giftings to get you moving:

  • Co-ordinator – someone who is good with checklists and chasing people up
  • Premises person – to galvanise the church into ensuring the premises are welcoming (signage, toilets, litter, noticeboards, coffee, etc.). Some churches may find a working bee or two will help unite people
  • Media genius – to keep the project in front of the congregation, and also to get profile in secular media locally

Update 13 May:

Two complimentary DVDs have been sent to all Parishes by Archdeacon Danny Te Hiko. The DVDs are Unlocking Church Growth and Twelve Steps to Growing a Church. The DVDs contain key principles for church growth, and are recommended viewing for Back to Church Sunday and beyond.

"Ministry at the Door" Booklets

We recommend the recently published booklet "Ministry at the Door – A Guide for Ministry at the Church Door" by Right Reverend Dr Thomas and Dwyllis Brown - $5.00 a copy. It will serve both as encouragement and training for the Welcomers in your church – get them a copy each from the Resource Centre on resource@wn.ang.org.nz or phone 0800 833 477.

 


 

For any queries please contact our BTCS Co-ordinator, Ginny McCarty on telephone 04 973 9303 or 021 145 0398, or email her at mccarty@paradise.net.nz.

 




No reira waiho ko te aroha o Te Matua Kaha Rawa hei korowai mou.
May the love of Almighty God enfold you!