Australian Results on Back to Church Sunday

Based on feedback from 193 churches (nearly 1/3rd of the total) an estimated 12,000 people were invited to church in Australia, which is an average of 20 per church.

I felt that it provided an opportunity for people to break the cycle of missing church (doing something else on Sunday mornings) Melbourne church
We actually had to start the service 10 minutes late (something I hate to do) as people kept coming in! Melbourne church
I think one of the great benefits of the day is the way that St Aidan’s parishioners see themselves and the way they can see God at work in our midst in many ‘ordinary’ ways. People know we are a welcoming church and that we have much to offer.
Every face in church was smiling. Melbourne church
We took the theme – Come As You Are- and invited parishioners to come dressed as something that represents who they are. We had 2 doctors with stethoscopes, a safety worker with his bright vest, football fans (very popular dress), a housewife in an apron, a teacher in an academic gown, a Girl Guide leader in her uniform, a Scottish Piper in his kilt. It … gave the day a festive and fun feel. Melbourne church
I thought the idea was great. It was a very good opportunity to encourage the parishioners that inviting a friend/relative to church was not such a hard thing to do. The material to advertise was great and encouraged people to pray for family and friends was a positive experience – looking forward to next year. Melbourne church
Over all, I felt it was worthwhile doing BTCS. It is a chance for people to have a good look at themselves as a parish, and to think about what is welcoming, what may not be. One extra parishioner is positive, but numbers are not the be all and end all of what we do. Our own people have grown, and begun to look outwards more. That is potentially more important, because it educates and leads to future outcomes. Melbourne church
I feel it was encouraging for the congregation to see how the simple effort of a personal invitation doubled our congregation size…We are slowly seeing some of the people returning again. Bunbury church
It did show our regulars that with little effort, they themselves can increase the size of congregation. Bunbury Church
I believe this has given them confidence to invite people in the future. Bunbury church
Yes, Back to Church Sunday was a success. Yes, it was worth the effort. I hope you feel that way too. Bunbury church

I can truly say that BTCS was the highlight of my entire ministry. It is probably the most successful single venture I have ever undertaken as a priest…What really stood out for me was that, as one of our members accompanying their guest entered the church, they had the hugest grin on their face and said proudly, “This is my friend whom I brought to church today!” Their face said it all for me. They were excited that they had accomplished the Great Commission of Christ. Bunbury church
BTCS was easy to implement and advertise. Parishioners and potential guests could easily understand what it was about. Canberra and Goulburn church
The follow-up has been left to the people who invited the guests – they are the ones who have the relationship with the person. Canberra and Goulburn church
We had many guests including a mother who had been brought along to church because her daughter was asking questions about God and wanted to get involved in Sunday school. We had people inviting all their office colleagues. We had people saying they wanted to come before an invitation had been issued. Canberra and Goulburn church
The whole thing is good news. A small church that doesn’t do ‘program mode’ easily and whose members are shy about sharing their faith found that inviting someone to church was easy. Canberra and Goulburn church
(The most successful aspect of BTCS was) seeing the delight on the faces of regulars when the people they’d invited came: inviting them was an uncomfortable/novel experience, so their courage paid off. A small step in being overt Christians, in speaking about their faith, and significant. Canberra and Goulburn church.
Many who felt daunted by the thought of asking someone to come to church were surprised by the positive responses they received when they plucked up the courage. Newcastle church
BTCS was simple, it demonstrated the effectiveness of personal invitation. Newcastle church
BTCS compels us – as regulars – to ask ourselves some difficult questions: What am I asking this person to? What will they think of what we do? What do “I” think of what we do? How do we “welcome” the stranger well? To that end alone I think BTCS is worthwhile.. If we (as a congregation) can answer those questions, then we will be much more comfortable and capable of inviting others to join us. BTCS, then, is an exercise in challenging and changing a culture of complacency, and even helplessness. I definitely support BTCS as an annual activity; the blessing will flow as we continue to change the culture of a church/congregation drifting along and declining. Newcastle church

‘Thank you,’ shaking my hand, with a kiss and a hug with tears in her eyes as I had included an apology for those who felt betrayed and hurt by the church. Melbourne church
One guest who came with two small children reported ‘I wish this was on every Sunday.’ We told her it was and she came back next week. Melbourne church
One said, ‘I was thinking of coming back, but just needed a reason to do so.’ Melbourne church
One parishioner said she prayed about asking someone who used to come to church a long time ago and felt sure she would say no – what a lovely surprise she said yes. Melbourne church
One Chinese neighbour and family said that they wanted to come, and the invite made the first step easier. Their response was immediate. Melbourne church
This is so different to what I remember church being, its’ great. Melbourne church
“This is just what I needed to get me back to church” Newcastle church

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