Back to Church Sunday Blessed with Success
Our first Back to Church Sunday, on 9th September, seems to have been quite a success in getting new worshippers out to service and many members and adherents who had been absent for a while to return! Those congregations that have reported in so far all have spoken of full sanctuaries, squeezing more chairs in everywhere possible, and such great news. In the case of our smallest congregation on the Island, it meant numbers almost three times the recent norm! One congregation reported that “Service was great. Worship and singing were robust and engaging. Response to the choir ministry was that it was uplifting. People came forward in response to sermon appeal, and prayer was said for those making commitments, as well as for the sick, and students going overseas for studies.”
In the service the writer attended, the joy of the congregation was palpable. People were genuinely happy to see those who had not been present for a period and to greet new worshippers. And those returning seemed really grateful to have had the little ‘prompt’ to return. In fact, a few people had started returning about two Sundays before the event, possibly a result of the combination of our prayers coupled with the invitations we had started to deliver, banners displayed, media promotion, etc. Altogether, we have to be truly encouraged about the evidence once again of what God will do when we are obedient to Him – and, in this case, go out and invite others to experience His Good News.
The central focus of our Back to Church Sunday was explicitly on ‘coming back to God’. The Scripture texts used were (1) Deuteronomy 4: 1 – 14; (2) Psalm 78:1-8; (3) St. John 21:15-25 and the Theme: “GOD …The Same Yesterday, Today and Forever”. These allowed the preachers to focus on a number of critically important truths, including perhaps in particular, the need to pass on our faith to future generations, to teach God’s love ‘to our children and our children’s children’, ‘to feed Jesus’ lambs, His sheep’ and to heed the words of our Lord, “you must follow Me” – follow Jesus, not be distracted by what others are doing.
In my congregation, during the Time with the Children, the children were taken on a (video) ride through time, when they were shown pictures of former Ministers, Elders and Sunday School Teachers who had trained up many of the older leaders in the Church today, then pictures of their present Sunday School Teachers and Youth Leaders when they were little children in the Sunday School, Girls Brigade etc. And what really tickled the children was when they were shown pictures of themselves and little babies they know in the present congregation and asked to pick out who would be teaching children about Jesus in 20 -30 years’ time! No doubt a good question for everyone to contemplate in this critical time for our society and its future, as the Minister later emphasised to the congregation in a number of ways.
The hope is that we will all be re-energised and encouraged by the experience of our Back to Church Sunday in seeing once again what God is willing and waiting to do through us and be emboldened to continue inviting people to follow Jesus, and to pray that they will be made receptive, to the glory of our LORD.
Posted by: Administrator Monday Sep 10, 2012 14:08
Categories: Encouragement, Prayer, Youth | Tags: Back to Church, back to God, children, encouragement, evangelism, Girls Brigade, helping others, Jesus, Prayer, Renewal & Transformation, starting over, strengthening, students, worship