Last Update 2nd October, 2016.

Does your church have a culture of people bringing new people on a Sunday morning?

Sometimes as leaders we kind of just expect it to happen and get frustrated when it doesn’t…

Ideally every Church Service should be an ‘Invite a Friend’ event but if you find that’s not happening, organising a monthly special ‘Invite a friends to Church’ Sunday is a great way to start.

So here are 6 steps to a successful Invite a Friend to Church Sunday:

1.  Pray, Pray, Sleep, Pray

Six to eight weeks beforehand set your first date and passionately cast vision for it – give your reasons for doing this. Help them catch the vision and jump on board.

Encourage people to start praying for the ‘Invite a Friend’ Sunday that people would come.

Then get more specific and have people write down a list of friends and family they have that they could pray for daily.

Have your people pray for God to show them who to invite.

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2.  Have a Big Build Up

Building momentum means increasing the faith level of your church members and getting them excited about what your church is doing and where you’re going together.

In other words: have a big build up to your Invite a Friend Sunday.

Make an announcement every week leading up to the event.

Lead from the front: Use any opportunity to tell people about your conversations with people during the week, illustrate your sermons with stories of how you are inviting people to church. 

3.  Get Your Welcome Team Ready

It would seem a great shame to put all your effort into the organisation and execution of Invite a Friend Sunday if, when the visitors come they are given a poor first impression.

Visitors will come so be ready for them.

  • Ensure your welcoming team are trained. When you have confident and happy church greeters you’re well on your way.
  • Look at your meeting place with fresh eyes, you’ve met there for years and might not notice the ripped wallpaper, or the mop bucket in the entrance. Clean, repaint, get the place welcoming and presentable.
  • Make sure your welcoming team have a clear process of getting visitor contact information.

Small churches have a great advantage when it comes to welcoming people – the key is to major on your strengths.

If you’re small then you probably won’t have what I call the ‘wow’ factor, that is the 5,000 seater auditorium, 12 electric guitarists and the Starbucks in the foyer.

So without the wow factor your major pull as a small church is relational – be personable, friendly, get people connected and they’ll stay with you.

The churches I’ve seen do a great job at welcoming guests had welcome packs at the ready.

The pastor welcomed everyone from the front and got the service started. Promising not to embarrass anyone, the pastor asked visitors to raise their hands and the ushers passed the welcome packs out.

4.  Make it Easy For People to Invite Friends

Have church flyers printed and distribute them to your church members.

This can be a great tool to equip your congregation as not all may be comfortable in sharing the gospel but most are more than happy to invite their friends to church.

Create an event on your church’s Facebook page so your members can spread the word digitally and don’t forget to update your church website with the upcoming sermon series.

5.  Start A Monthly Sermon Series

Why not set a sermon series or teaching theme for each month?

If you’re having an invite a friend Sunday the first Sunday of every month, have the series start on that day.

Launch your sermon series around a life problem. Your message titles could start with “How to…” This shows people that the Bible is relevant to real life and gives people a chance to respond to the Gospel message.

You might like to read Looking for Sermon Series Ideas? for some inspiration.

January might be good to teach how to set goals, February is good to talk about relationships, Easter to talk about new life, ‘Why did Jesus have to die?’ and so on…

Create an image for your month’s theme, create flyers and give them to your people so they can invite people.

Get the church theme image on your Facebook page, tweet it, project it onto your screen and print it on your newsletters.

Have your youth groups and children’s ministries and home groups talking on this same theme during the month so your whole church is heading in the same direction together. 

Your monthly theme really helps people to invite others; your church members will feel safe because they know what’s going to be talked about when their friends come and it gives them a reason, something to invite their friends to.

If you’re teaching about raising children for example, they have a hook when talking with the other waiting mums at the school gates.  

Having a 4 weeks series also gives your visitor a reason to come back – they won’t want to miss the next installment!

6.  Plan Your Follow-Up in Advance

Which leads us nicely to our sixth and final step in organising a successful ‘Invite a Friend to Church’ Sunday.

Don’t leave your follow up by chance.

Make it your priority to have your visitor return for a second week.

You could prepare a social event within a week or two of the first Sunday and have invites ready for that. Tell people about your home groups to help them to get plugged in to the life of your church through relationships and connections. Show off your church’s children’s work or activities in the community.

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What success have you had with Invite a Friend to Church Sundays? Is there anything you would add to this list that would help pastors and leaders? Share your comments below.