Pastors and Churches Across the Country Prepare for Back-to-Church Sunday

Charlie Miller, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Titusville, conducts an interactive bible study. Miller is among a growing group of pastors trying to reinvigorate churchgoers.(Photo: Craig Rubadoux, Florida Today)
Charlie Miller, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Titusville, conducts an interactive bible study. Miller is among a growing group of pastors trying to reinvigorate churchgoers.(Photo: Craig Rubadoux, Florida Today)

Little League practice.

Shopping.

Even a chance to stay in a bed.

The Rev. Chris Miller has heard all of the reasons why some fail to step through sanctuary doors, from people with life struggles that have left them alienated from faith to those whose obligations choke out the time otherwise spent going to church.

But this weekend, the 38-year-old minister at First Baptist Church of Titusville — along with other congregations across the nation — will be casting a wide net with the annual Back-To-Church initiative, hoping to bring many of those back to the fold.

“People step away, they get used to sleeping in. What we want to do is get them back in,” said Miller, a new arrival with a vision of adding members to the 125-year-old congregation.

For now, Miller says, the goal is to overcome the social disconnect between prospective members and worship centers. Today’s churches offer a variety of services not found 10 to 20 years ago, from social media connections and tennis to social justice-related programs, something few potential visitors might know, say pastors.

“Probably 75 to 80 percent of people would visit your church if you just invite them. Sometimes people in the church don’t even think about that,” Miller says.

“The biggest thing about it is that it allows you to worship the Lord in a setting with other people. You may be struggling, discouraged, but coming in and seeing the joy of others can pick you up. It’s a brotherhood.”

For many, the first day of the week is a day off, a time of leisure or a chance to kick back and catch a game. But this Sunday marks the sixth year churches across the nation have campaigned to welcome back individuals and families who over the years may have given up on attending services for whatever reason.

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Source: USA Today | J.D. Gallop, Florida Today

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