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A New Years Resolution – To Become Invitational

New Year is a time to take stock and re-commit our lives for God. It is a time for opportunity, and new beginnings. In our stress filled world the opportunity to help people with their lives. The opportunity to remind people is, that they don't need to be stressed or afraid, because God is just a prayer away. To help them create a new beginning by breaking through habits like anger and apathy that enslave, to a life in all abundance. For Christ came 2,000 years ago to set the captives free, and Christ can still set us free from our crippling habits, to this day. Introducing friends and relatives to the real pursuit of happiness, which cannot be found, through holidays and bank accounts, houses and cars, but through an understanding of verses in scripture such as

"Consider it pure joy when you face trials and tribulations because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Christianity holds the keys to the universe. But maybe before we start inviting others we need ourselves to make a resolution to re-discover the wonders held deep within God's words for our lives. It seems

to me that finding is reserved for those who seek. But the brilliance is that once we seek we find, then at that point we can pass along those things that we have found. This is what the early disciples did. They found something in Christ and passed it along. So I invite you this New Year to pass along what you have found, and invite people to take a closer look at Christ and His church.

Michael Harvey MBA

07831 317871

SKYPE michael.john.harvey



The power of perspective in invitation

A new article by Back to Church founder, Michael Harvey ,
Perspective comes originally from the Latin perspicere, “to see through”. We need to see people in our congregation, better than they presently are. Very often I hear church leader’s say to me. I can see invitation work well over in that church over there
“but you should see my congregation!”
I can almost hear Jesus saying
“you should see my disciples!”
Jesus ‘saw’ Simon differently than he saw himself. In fact he renamed him “Cephas” the rock. It’s just that Simon didn’t act like a rock. He was all over the place. But Simon Peter became very influential for Christ
Never underestimate the power of perspective. Indeed, the perspective influence of those around us is so powerful! Many times we don't even realize we're being strongly affected because influences generally develop over an extended period of time.

I have been concerned for a while that we have a tendency to write off our congregations that have a majority of senior citizens. In a recent study of churches the Back to Church Sunday Team in the UK we discovered that even if a congregation is senior it can still have powerful influence over younger people. In fact the survey found that 60% of those invited by our senior congregations were under the age of 50. Why is this so? I think we have for far too long called our congregations elderly, rather than elders. There is a difference between the two. Elders have respect, and have over a long time done a lot for their kith and kin. Therefore their adult children and grandchildren will often be open to an invite from Grandma and Grandpa. It may well be by using phrases like aging, and elderly that we have spoken death to the church and many of our best people have become ”Road” Christians (Retired on active duty). We need to re-recruit the senior members of the congregations and envision them of their position of elders and of their powerful influence on those around them.
Everyone ought to have a dream which leads to a perspective that lasts beyond a lifetime, to leave a legacy behind. A legacy is something that someone has achieved that continues to exist after they die. Many of us are someone else’s legacy. We were probably invited by someone, to enable us to cross the threshold of a church building, and many of us would not be here if someone had not come alongside us, at key points in our spiritual life.
Jesus of course left a massive legacy behind but I want to finish on his final vision Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. This legacy has led down the years to you and me.
Now we have a chance to leave our own legacy behind by offering an invitation that may very well last beyond your own lifetime and remember Jesus ends his final words of legacy by saying (and as you go)
‘lo I am with you always’ Matt 28:20 KJV
Borrow my eyes and gain a new perspective to see beyond your fear and offer an invitation which might also change the perspective of your friend or relative.
Share this article with your community by cutting and pasting it into your pew bulletin .doc
or print out a few copies for distribution .pdf

Back to Church Sunday Tipsheet

Evangelism for Introverts:

A Clergy Guide to a Simple & Successful

Back to Church Sunday

Why Bother?

Whether your parish is introverted or extroverted, comfortable with talking about Jesus or not so much, Back to Church Sunday is a good fit because its “evangelism” approach is one of the simplest, most natural and effective strategies out there: that of one friend inviting another friend to church. 

We know you’re busy, so...

We’ve put together the top four tips for running a successful campaign. These hints come from clergy in the Diocese who got a great response last year on Back to Church Sunday.

Top four tips for running a successful campaign:

1.      Get your lay leadership on board, whoever that might be. Meet with your wardens. Sell it at Advisory Board and ACW. Talk to key lay leaders. Need help in pitching the program? Invite them out to hear Michael Harvey at your Area event. We also have a powerpoint presentation available on our Diocesan webpage for download or printing. 

2.      Preach a sermon on how and why we invite friends to church a Sunday or two before the event. Lower people’s anxiety levels. Inspire them as to why we should do it, and show them how easy it is. Not sure, yourself, what to say? We have sample sermons you can adapt or borrow on our webpage. 

3.      Make invitation cards readily available to parishioners. Give folks something concrete to pass on to their friends. Whether you buy your invitations from Augsburg or design your own really doesn’t matter; just make sure they’re available to people several weeks before Back to Church Sunday. Ordering information will be sent to parishes in June.

4.      Put a little extra effort into planning worship on Back to Church Sunday. Really, what we’re talking about here is making sure you think through your service with the visitor in mind. How will you welcome visitors, and what info do they need to know? (Washrooms? Nursery? What happens to kids during service? Who receives communion, and how? Will there be enough cues for the visitor to move comfortably through the service?)

Is that all?

Pretty much. Although of course we encourage to undergird all your efforts with prayer. Ask you parish intercessors to include it as an item in their Sunday prayers for the Sundays leading up to the September Sunday when Back to Church Sunday has been designated.

 - Check out our Find  A Church pages for the church closest to you.
 - The Diocese of Toronto are leaders in Canadian Back to Church Ministry have a look at their RESOURCE PAGE
 - And of course, make sure you take a look at the Church of England's BACKTOCHURCHSUNDAY  website
  -  Here's a very useful lesson from the HOLY SOUP blogsite