Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Back to School - Back to Church

It's September and school has been going for a few weeks.  I hesitated writing about a "back to school" campaign, probably because I remembered how much of a downer it was for me to have to start back to school each year.  The end of summer speaks volumes of negatives when school starts for another year.

Several years ago I wrote about some of our country's churches entertaining a campaign at this time of year called The Back to Church campaign.  There were numerous locations across America where local churches joined hands and hearts in a plea for those returning for another school year, to also remember it's a great time to get back in the church habit. Perhaps we should rekindle the need for those who have neglected church going and Bible learning, by reaching out to our neighbors and communities to make a renewed resolve to be more involved in attendance and support of the local churches.

In that article I quoted from, back in 2013, I described two of those events:

A group in McKinney, Texas is hosting a multi-church, multi-denominational outreach event for Back to Church Sunday in a local park, welcoming everyone in the city looking for a church home. The informal picnic is designed to allow attendees to mingle with others, enjoy special speakers and live music and connect with churches that suit their needs. Event co-chair Rolanda Greer told the local area that she wants the people of McKinney to know that they "care not only about their physical well-being and their mental well-being, but we also care about their spiritual well-being."

"In Champaign County in Illinois, nearly 20 churches are joining forces to promote Back to Church Sunday in the city of Urbana. Mike Stewart, pastor of Urbana First Christian Church, and Jim Lillibridge, pastor of Urbana United Methodist, agreed that the event is not merely an attendance drive, but is intended to show the community that different congregations can work together to promote the common goal of the Christian church: spreading the gospel of Jesus."

Maybe those campaigns are still organized and operating every September, but I haven't heard about them this year.  I would be anxious to hear some positive results from those that are involved in such programs. I commend their work and solicit your prayers for their continued success.

As always, I do wish to make a point.  Most churches do not have a plan or intentions in place to minister to those people who are suddenly missing from our fellowship.  We assume it's the preacher's job to keep up with all that, or perhaps elders should be the only ones involved since they are shepherds of the flock.  I am saying every Christian can be observant of those whose church attendance has been sporadic.  A kind word or a note in the mail, welcoming them to the assembly of the local church, might be all it takes to bring them back to our worship and other activities. Regardless of who they are, or their church background, we all need God's grace and love.  We are all still in need of the redemptive work of Jesus through his cross.  Individually and collectively we must continue to let the world know the gospel story.

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