Weekend aims to respond to churches' 'greatest missed opportunity'
Church leaders met in London recently to launch the UK’s first National Weekend of Invitation (15-17 June 2018).
An initiative of Back to Church Sunday pioneer Michael Harvey, the weekend will see thousands of church members stepping beyond the ‘fear barrier’ to invite friends and family to church events.
The programme is in response to what Michael calls: ‘The churches’ greatest missed opportunity’. He quotes research showing up to three million people in the UK are open to an invitation – but the vast majority of Christians are too fearful to invite.
To help churches respond, The National Weekend of Invitation has a preparation programme to help churches see the process of invitation as an opportunity to develop the faith and spiritual growth of its members.
The date has been set to follow the Archbishops’ Thy Kingdom Come prayer initiative. As Michael (pictured) points out: “This is an ideal way for churches to put their prayers into action.”
The initiative offers churches “an opportunity to do something – big or small, for young or old, for a special group or for all. They may choose to invite people to something that’s a regular activity, to a special guest event or guest service”.
Already underway in many UK churches, the project is bearing fruit.
“We are thrilled with the congregation’s reaction,” said Lucy Brewster, Edgeley and Cheadle Heath Parishes. “Many members have been leaving their comfort zone and inviting. It is changing the mindset of our church.”
“In the past few months we’ve seen our largest number of visitors to events. Most recently 37 people come to an Alpha Course,” said Jason Clark, Leader of Vineyard, London.
The National Weekend of Invitation’s website – weekendofinvitation.com – offers churches videos to use in their preparation and extensive resources to download.