Contact: Rev. Patrick Broz
Phone: (785) 227-3326
The Kansas West Conference’s Board of Discipleship accepted an invitation from Bishop Scott Jones to review and revamp an initiative that the North Texas Conference used a generation ago, called Bring A Friend Sunday (BAFS). In 2011, Rev. Lew Van Der Wege, Salina District Superintendent encouraged the churches in that district to use the initiative as a way of rekindling the fires of evangelism in the district. Six churches used the program as a guiding tool, with mixed success.
The Kansas West Board of Discipleship is currently reviewing input from the churches in the Salina District and will be offering an updated version of BAFS later this spring.
Rev. Patrick Broz, pastor at Lindsborg Trinity, used BAFS in early December as a way of bringing in new families for Advent and Christmas. In worship on BAFS, Broz announced a new worship series that would begin in January on the Book of Revelation. Worship attendance increased throughout December, and the early results from January show an 8-percent increase in worship attendance.
“Leading up to Bring A Friend Sunday, we had a four-week worship series from the early sections of Acts, combined with ideas from Kristine Pohl’s book 'Making Room' that showed how hospitality, invitation and connecting people into the church is in our DNA as Christians,” Broz said.
“While the results the first time through BAFS weren’t what we thought, we learned a lot about who we were as a part of the Lindsborg community. Plus, I’ve had several people in the church, and especially some in lay leadership, tell me that the series changed their view on how each of us is responsible for inviting people into a relationship with Christ through the church," Broz continued. “As we continue to move beyond the Bring A Friend Sunday, that’s been a residual affirmation that can be seen throughout the church.”
The Board of Discipleship will be releasing the updated Bring A Friend initiative in early spring. It will have guidelines for churches to see where they are on a “health spectrum,” “welcoming spectrum,” “facilities spectrum,” and to help churches plan for a post-BAFS church, with new small groups and ministries to invite new people into a relationship with Christ. It will also have ideas for small group studies before BAFS and worship helps. As churches of all sizes in all different types of communities evaluate their ministries in their missional context through the Vital Congregations initiative, Bring A Friend Sunday is a complimentary guide to help churches work toward their goals, particularly in the areas of faith formation and disciple-making, worship attendance, small group formations, and possibly mission (if that’s a part of the Sunday or as a new ministry for those coming).
So, could your local church use an infusion of the evangelistic spirit? Could your congregation use some assistance in finding the words to being more invitational and welcoming to new disciples? Is your church ready to be in chabadza with the Board of Discipleship to work together to help meet your Vital Congregations goals? Jesus didn’t work alone, so why should our churches?