Seacoast Episcopal churches launch ‘Come and See’ campaign
The campaign, to be jointly offered by Christ Episcopal Church on Lafayette Road in Portsmouth, and Trinity Episcopal Church on High Street in Hampton, is designed to make it easy for church members to invite their friends and family by creating a worship experience specifically tailored toward welcoming visitors.
A 2012 research study found that 82 percent of those described as “un-churched” people surveyed said that they’d be open to visit a church, if a friend or family member invited them.
“Only two percent of church members invite an un-churched person to church,” he said. “Ninety-eight percent of churchgoers never extend an invitation in a given year.”
Some moved or had another change in life circumstances, or had a falling out with their former church and simply drifted away. Most often, life simply became too busy.
“Many people are a simple re-invitation away from coming back to church,” said Robinson.
But inviting people is only part of the campaign. The other part is getting the church ready for them to show up.
Diocesan officials, who have provided training and assistance with the program, encourage local churches to pay attention to small details — like clear signage and clean bathrooms — that are important to visitors.
“Rebuilding trust with this group is essential, and building trust requires authenticity and consistency,” says Wells. “Otherwise, your returning guests may feel that you have tried a ‘bait and switch.’”
Sometimes the invitation came from Jesus. At other times it came from Jesus’ disciples. But always it was an invitation to simply come and see what it’s like to be in the presence of Jesus.
“It is our prayer that they will experience the presence of Christ as they worship with us — and may discover that we have something worth coming back to learn more about,” Robinson said in a recent sermon.
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