Many of the letters I receive are like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates—"you never know what you're gonna get." Recently I received a clever promotional message urging PTM and CWR to participate in "Back-to-Church Sunday."
The letter explained that Back-to-Church Sunday is a great way to get the "unchurched" and the "de-churched" back to church. The coalition responsible for the letter explained that Back-to-Church Sunday is held annually in early to mid September, taking advantage of the time when students are going "back to school." The message implored me to help this new initiative, because, as the message claimed, people's lives would be forever changed if they just went back to church!
Over 3,500 churches and sponsoring organizations are engaging in publicity campaigns to reach the "unchurched." Organizers estimated that over a million print and electronic invitations are sent. Those who are reluctant to invite others to their church personally can use the resources of a website that will send invitations for them—by mail or email. Churches see this as a way to bolster declining attendance—and there is evidence that participating churches can expect increased numbers in the weeks following Back-to-Church Sunday.
I know the folks behind this latest innovative wrinkle to fill the pews think they are helping people. I realize they believe getting people "back to church" will help "reach" them for Christ. But thinking you are helping people and actually helping people are not always one and the same thing. Back-to-Church Sunday is based on at least two faulty assumptions:
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