The B2CS New Year’s resolutions

B2CS stands for “Back to Church Sunday”. Michael Harvey from the United Kingdom wrote a book entitled “Unlocking the Growth” which outlines this movement happening across the globe in the last decade, predominantly in mainline Christian denominations. He’s also produced a couple DVD seminars and makes resources available every year to help kick-start this initiative in your church. The vision is simple: double a congregation on one day, when each member invites one person: “Would you come to church with me?”

Recently, upon conclusion of a small leaders group which I facilitated preparing for B2CS 2013, I asked participants to make some new year’s resolutions: What is one thing about this challenge you would like to try in 2013 in your congregation?

I like relating B2CS with New Years because B2C is not just about a one-off event for just one day in the year — it’s a process. It is like fertilizing, tilling and working the ground in preparation for the growth to happen. For example, B2CS emphasizes the vital importance of the gift of friendship. And friendship is something organic; it takes time and effort to foster a good friendship. It is then in the context of a friendship wherein the question can naturally be asked: “Would you come to church with me?”

I also like linking B2CS with New Years because both events signal a new start in the life of a congregation. Introducing the congregation to the challenge of invitation creates a cultural shift that can be seismic in proportion.

Invitation is a call to claim a new identity among members from being spectators each Sunday to being hosts. Therefore, B2CS can shape and refresh a collective understanding of what church, what evangelism, what faith and what following Jesus really means in today’s world.

New Year’s resolutions are about doing the little yet consequential things, mindful that every thing we do and every word we say can affect our lives in a positive way.

Resolutions are about creating a habit in behavior. Do something 21 times, I once heard, before it becomes a habit: Practicing the question — “Would you come to church with me?”; Repeating the skills — praying and taking responsibility for each, precious visitor that walks through the threshold of the church building; Trying something new a few times — like spending more time with newcomers rather than regulars, during a congregational event.

Here are the New Year’s resolutions of the local, Ottawa group preparing for B2CS 2013:

1. Intentionally pray for whom God is preparing for me to invite;

2. Work towards creating more small groups within my congregation;

3. Reach out in love to those on the fringe of my congregation — the ‘inactives’;

4. Publish a Lenten devotional of collected ‘stories of invitation’ from the membership, for circulation in my congregation;

5. Try not to sit in the same place every Sunday for worship;

6. Make people feel special, compliment them, appreciate them.

Excellent! Thank you! May God bless our B2C work in 2013! And, oh yes, Happy New Year!

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