An Internet survey by LifeWay Research found 67 percent of Americans would be open to an invitation to church from a family member, and 63 percent to a friend or neighbor.

The 2008 study was the inspiration for National Back to Church Sunday, a cross-denominational movement encouraging churches and individuals to invite people to church. The third annual Back to Church Sunday will be Sept. 18.

Interestingly enough, the same study found African Americans to be the most receptive ethnic group to church invitations. About 82 percent of African Americans said a relative’s personal invitation would be “somewhat to very effective,” and 79 percent said the same of an invitation from a friend or neighbor.

In comparison, 65 percent of white Americans responded likewise to a relative’s invitation, and 61 percent to a friend or neighbor’s invitation. Hispanic, Asian and mixed-race or other Americans had equal or slightly higher responses, with Hispanic Americans the second most receptive group. The study surveyed 15,000 Americans online.

Responses to other questions also found African Americans to consistently be the most receptive ethnic group to receiving church information and invitations, no matter the medium—friends, family members, door-to-door visits, commercials, social media, signs, etc. Details can be viewed in a PowerPoint at the bottom of LifeWay Research’s article.

So far, nearly half of a hoped-for 10,000 churches have registered for National Back to Church Sunday. As Sept. 18 approaches, the event is seeking citywide coordinators to assist and recruit local churches.

See one of the campaign’s promotional videos below.

“We want our citywide coordinators to really be creative about how to help churches work together in their community,” said Philip Nation, LifeWay’s research ministry development director. “We want them to have a vision that Back to Church Sunday is the beginning of relationships to further minister to the community to help spread the gospel. This is an opportunity for them to begin to work together to meet the needs that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise meet as an individual congregation.”

Last year, participating churches saw an average 26 percent attendance increase, according to a press release.

Church leaders can become citywide coordinators by filling out an online form on the National Back to Church Sunday website. There can also be more than one coordinator per city; if multiple people volunteer for the position, they can work together, Nation said. “We’re hoping we’ll see some coordinators really step up to hold regular meetings for pastors to brainstorm how churches can reach out to the community.”

For more information, see the National Back to Church Sunday website and the roster of participating churches. Churches can sign up by filling out an online form. Campaign resources and a church outreach assessment with extra downloadable resources are also available.

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