Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back to Church Sunday

Apparently today is Back to Church Sunday. Hmm. Not the most amazing evangelical idea.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think it's a good idea to contact people who are on the periphery of the church and give them a personal invitation to pop back in sometime. It's certainly something worth doing at the start of a new ministry. It's something I'm planning on doing very soon.

But I don't really see the need for a national campaign. It doesn't seem the best use of resourses, and the best way to empower local congregations for evangelism.

For one thing it doesn't really address the legitimate reasons why some people might have left the church in the first place. Spirited Exchanges is one place to engage with those issues.

Plus it's not very ambitious. It's only aiming at the 'churched' who have drifted away rather than a genuine missionary engagement with the unchurched western culture.

Plus it's a very "come to us" strategy, rather than a "go to them" strategy. How about getting the church back into the world, rather than people back into the church? How about local congregations finding ways to be in genuine dialogue with the world outside? That's the key.


Blogger Unitalian said...

People aren't going back to the CofE is because they don't "get" it. The only thing that is keeping their rolls up is the part-privatisation of the education system.

Shame there aren't any Unitarian schools!

7:49 pm  
Blogger Stephen Lingwood said...

Here's Ekkelsia's take on Back to Church Sunday

12:42 pm  
Anonymous Tim (S Manc) said...

It's a fair bit after "Back to Church Sunday" when I write this (6 Jan 2009) but I find the name of the day and some of the ways it's been publicised a bit discomforting. It's as if the people in the campaign's target group were somehow wrong for leaving the church: they're at fault, and now they're given a one day amnesty to be welcomed back, because the Church was right all along.

It reminds me of a Church I spent several years in, which spoke frequently of the "worth of souls" yet allowed very little room for local members to shape the character or direction of the organisation. Because of this experience, I find the basis of "Back to Church Sunday" quite misguided.

Incidentally, I hear of no one referring to "Back to Church Sunday" beyond September.

8:56 pm  

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