There’s only one question to ask…. How to get active?
What should you be doing now...
- Appoint a Connect2Church coordinator/parish contact person. This is usually a lay person who is willing to take on the project, but could be the Parish Priest.
- You may wish to appoint a small group to plan the day and the follow up.Share some of the church stories with your Church and Parish Council to inspire people and get them thinking about what they might do.
- Ask members of the parish (especially anyone who has joined the parish in the last 12 months) to complete the Welcome Audit and discuss the results with Parish Council.
- Take the opportunity to incorporate themes of welcome, friendship and mission into church services in the weeks running up to Connect2Church.
- Make it clear that over 90% of new people who come will be those who have been invited personally. Often it will be better if church members arrive with those they invite, rather than simply meeting them at the door when they walk in.
What your church might do in preparation for the day...
- Two months before the event invite the members of your congregation to think of one person whom they will invite on the day. Ask them to pray for that person regularly until the event. They should pray for their general well-being and also specifically that they will respond positively to the invitation.
- Give out an inivation card to every member of your congregation, including your young people. As most people do not come every week you will need to have the cards available for several consecutive weeks to get them round to everyone. Ask everyone to write on their prayer card the name of one person they will invite to the event.
- The invitation card has space for names and a message, and church members should be encouraged to use this when inviting someone to Connect2Church.
- Have some extra invitation cards that the clergy and others can use to invite people they have had some pastoral contact with during the year, e.g. baptisms, weddings, funerals.
- A month before Connect2Church, begin advertising and put up posters wherever you can. Involve your youth groups with making banners and advertising.
What else can your parish do?
- Arrange with the Connect2Church Team (email) for a workshop on Welcome or Retaining Visitors for your Parish or Agency
- Purchase copies of “The Eucharist Explained” from the Ministry Education Commission to help newcomers understand the liturgy.
- Speak with Jonathan Sargeant from ACRE (email) or Jonathan Kemp (email) about updating your children’s ministry resources and organizing a special children friendly welcome.
- Organize a LAB 1 course with Canon Bruce Henzell (email) to deepen your understanding in listening to other people’s needs.
The whole church engaged in the whole mission?
- Consider how you can advertise in your local schools. Perhaps invite a local school choir, with their parents.
- At Christmas and Easter services have people get a list of email address that could be used later to invite people to Connect2Church.