In troubled times, it is more important than ever for churches to focus their efforts on helping people to discover (or rediscover) the hope and truth of the gospel. It is our calling, after all, to be “fishers of men” and bring more people to Christ. But, as every pastor knows, reaching out to the community can be challenging. Neighborhoods have become disconnected. Families have become even more busy. Budgets for outreach are strained. How does your church reach people and show them you are there for them?
“A Cord of Three Strands is Not Quickly Broken …”
Your church can begin to overcome these challenges by finding others with the same goal and working together! And not just within your own ministry, but with other churches throughout your community. Teaming up with other churches allows everyone involved to expand their outreach efforts, share their resources and show people that church is more than just a building, it’s a place to belong—and an integral part of their community. The concept of ministry teamwork is not just a random idea. The bible actively encourages us to work together to fulfill God’s plan. In Ecclesiastes, for example, we are told that two people sharing the workload will have a better return for their effort than one alone. This lesson is particularly true when churches unite to share the gospel in their communities.
The Power of Ministry Teamwork
In 2016, churches throughout Dayton, Ohio teamed up for Back to Church Sunday and pooled their time, talents and resources to invite people throughout their city to church. There were 70 different churches who participated and each had a unique way to support the mission. Some had strong media ties they used to share the event. Others had tried and true mailing and door-knocking strategies they utilized to get the word out. Still others utilized their large social media networks to invite thousands of people online. What were the results of this amazing example of church teamwork? Church attendance rose 30% on Back to Church Sunday! People who had not been to church in years returned and brought their friends and families. And, most importantly, many, many people accepted Christ into their lives that day.
Unifying Churches and Communities on Back to Church Sunday
This year, on Back to Church Sunday, we are calling churches everywhere to unify in the body of Christ once more and create a city-wide campaign to invite their communities to church. Through a strategic and coordinated effort, pastors from churches throughout the various cities can drastically increase the impact of this evangelism opportunity. It can seem a bit strange to work toward getting people to attend churches that aren’t your own. There’s no doubt that any pastor would probably prefer visitors filling up the pews of their individual churches every Sunday. And that’s not a selfish desire! After all, a church needs the support of existing members in order to be able to share the gospel and bring in new members. But, as the Dayton churches learned, the benefits of launching a city-wide effort are enormous and they affect everyone who participates:
- With a unified, multi-church effort, events get more notice in the media, which means free publicity and expanded outreach
- Members are encouraged to reach out beyond their comfort zone and minister to others in their community
- Churches form deep bonds of fellowship that last long after Back to Church has ended
- The community sees churches working in partnership to do good, exemplifying Christ’s message and fostering an idea of community and belonging
- People discover all the churches in their city that they can attend for worship and comfort
- Everyone expands their ministry network
- Small churches get support, exposure and ideas from larger churches they may not have been able to access before
- Pastors can find support and develop new friends who understand the unique pressures of ministry
As you can see, there are a lot of positives when multiple churches work together to share God’s message in their communities. Not only will you experience positive outcomes in your own ministry, you’ll be an integral part of helping other churches boost theirs, too. Over 30,000 churches worldwide have joined in on the Back to Church movement over the last 9 years. It’s a nationwide effort to invite people in our communities to church. This year it was held on September 18, 2016.
Learn more about National Back to Church here.
Hungry for more?
Find out what we have learned from conversations with 200+ city gospel movement leaders by reading 5 Attitudes Present in Cities with Strong Church Unity.