At TheBigInvite.org, Scott Smith, pictured, explains the resources available after signing up.
DULUTH — Georgia Baptist churches looking to utilize key resources for bringing in more Easter guests need to sign up for The Big Invite soon.
Now in its fourth year, The Big Invite provides a substantial number of tools for churches to saturate their community with invitations for Easter services, said Scott Smith, who serves as the online training strategist for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
“It’s best to sign up soon at TheBigInvite.org in order to take advantage of custom-printed materials,” he told The Christian Index.
Although Easter is just over four weeks away, he pointed out that churches can still make use of the seven-week program. He outlined those tools and additions for Executive Committee members at Ingleside Baptist Church in Macon yesterday, March 11.
“In meeting with [Discipleship catalyst] Scott Sullivan and [Evangelism catalyst] Levi Skipper, Scott suggested there be a discipleship element added to mobilize Sunday School and small groups, for follow-up” said Smith. “There are commercials with paid actors you can post on social media. A special promotional video is available for you to show on Sunday mornings.” Variations of those videos, he added, can better communicate with audiences depending on cultural contexts.
Happiness found through the gospel
This year’s theme of The Big Invite deals with happiness, he explained. “Happiness is the buzzword of the culture right now. Everyone wants to be happy. We’re going to help them see that their innate desire to be happy is the cry of a deeper need that can only be satisfied by a relationship with the Risen Savior. People have struggles and we want them to connect with those struggles to help them decide that attending Easter services might hold some key answers for them. Our hope is that when they hear the gospel clearly presented, they will come under Holy Spirit conviction, and that will all click.”
A misnomer of Easter Sunday, he said, was that pastors may automatically assume they’re having a lot of visitors. Studies show, though, that many of those individuals are already members. The fact that a church member shows up to service 1.7 times a month, coupled with the knowledge that everyone makes a special effort to get to church on Easter, can give the impression that a lot of guests are in attendance when it’s really just many church members there at the same time.
“The goal is to not just get your people there,” Smith stated, “but the unchurched as well.”
The Big Invite began in 2017 when Thomas Hammond, current Georgia Baptist executive director, was Georgia Baptist Convention President while serving as pastor of Alpharetta First Baptist.
“Every year since then it has gotten bigger and better,” said Smith. “By our estimation over 700 churches have used it, with many reporting their largest Easter and all-time crowds. Other state conventions have adopted what we’re doing and rebranded it for their needs.”
The promotional video points out that 7.1 million Georgians don’t have a relationship with Christ. For every ten people, seven haven’t been invited to church in their lifetime, though 82% say they would be open to it if invited by a friend.
“All the work [through The Big Invite] has been done for you, it’s just a matter of following the directions,” Smith said. “If you do those steps, you’ll be very well prepared.”