DULUTH — Pastor Daryl Womack sees The Big Invite as something akin to a can’t-miss.
“Any time you have a strategy that gives you a detailed way of going from one week to the next and leading up to an event, it helps,” says Womack, pastor of Montgomery Memorial Baptist Church in Gainesville.
And with the plans laid out through the Big Invite, it starts this weekend.
“I really love the idea of knowing step-by-step what we’re going to be doing from seven weeks out,” voices Womack. Looking at the planning board in his office, he sees when invite cards are mailed out as well as when radio promotional spots air. “I see when we have our official prayer dates, promotional videos to run, and signups for door-to-door evangelism. We’ll be carrying bumper stickers and door hangers when we make our visits, too.”
David Williams, pastor of Iron City Baptist Church in Seminole County, says his church is combining an ongoing outreach initiative with The Big Invite.
“Our church has made it our yearlong goal to ‘Shine the Light’ in every home in Iron City,” he explains. As such, a map sits in the front of the sanctuary with lights representing all 236 houses in the town.
“We’ll go to each house and ask their permission to read God’s plan of salvation. Then, we’ll ask for a response. This effort differs from most, as those going out will have a Gospel script to follow and read.
“Once the light has been shined in that home, on Sunday morning during our announcements those church members will come forward and turn on the light or screw in the light bulb [representing] the house where they ‘shined the light.’”
No one slipping through
Although Easter brings in guests, Williams doesn’t want any potential visitors who may decide to stay home slipping through the cracks.
“As a church, we want to ensure every home within our vicinity gets an opportunity to not only hear the good news of Jesus Christ, but also to respond to that good news,” he says. “We understand God has given us a calling, and we’re directly responsible for what we do or don’t do with telling others about the precious treasure of salvation.”
In addition to using invite cards, prayer cards, and banners, among other items, leading up to Easter Stephen Williams of Belmont Baptist in Calhoun will also place a priority on establishing connections with guests and follow-up.
This Sunday, he’ll be handing out prayer cards and explaining the process of The Big Invite to his congregation.
“Our focus on Easter at Belmont will be greeters and first impressions,” Williams says. “The next week, I want us to connect with every visitor, whether it’s by a personal visit, handing off cookies, or just letting them know we’re glad they came.”
During March, he’ll be emphasizing the importance of prayer in the effort. “We’ll be having a Pray for Me campaign where older families will pray for younger ones,” he explains.
This will be Williams’ first Easter at Belmont, having taken the pulpit last May. Since then the church has averaged 400 in attendance. Belmont – which had approximately 525 at Easter last year – has sent an attendance goal for Easter April 16 at 600.
A deeper responsibility … and blessing
Though the Big Invite works through a seven-week process, its effects by no means should be confined to that parameter, say pastors.
“One idea I heard [First Baptist Alpharetta pastor and GBC president] Thomas Hammond mention was adding an Easter Eve service, which we’re going to have,” points out Womack. “We have people like firemen and nurses who can’t make a Sunday service. We don’t want anyone not be able to attend.”
David Williams points to a deeper responsibility – addressed in Scripture – that urges churches to utilize resources such as those through The Big Invite.
“As people of God, we only have two options. One is to bury our treasure in a field, keep it to ourselves, and thus receive the tongue-lashing from our Master who says, ‘You wicked and slothful servant!’ The second option is to be faithful with the treasure we’ve been blessed to receive.
“Then, we’ll hear ‘well done’ from our Master.”
For more on resources through The Big Invite and to sign up, visit TheBigInvite.org.