Will Reed – Greeley, Colorado … The Greeley Seventh-day Adventist Church held its first-ever “Come Back to Church Day,” October 14.
Designed as a way to bring back former members who had not attended in a long time and to invite people who had never been to church before, the special Sabbath service and fellowship meal drew more than 100 total church members, past and present, and visitors. This was around a 20% increase in attendance compared to the average weekly attendance of the Greeley church.
On this particular Sabbath service, there were four believers baptized as well as one person accepted through profession of faith, welcoming these individuals into membership at church while welcoming back others into the church community again.
The idea originated with Michael Shannon, pastor of the Greeley church, while visiting a church member who was in the hospital several months ago. A couple of family members approached him and explained that they knew him from the church’s livestream, but they had never met in person because they had not been back to church since COVID pandemic. Pastor Shannon explained that this is a common attitude that he wanted to change: “After COVID, it just seems easier to stay home and watch the service on TV,” he said.
This interaction with the absent church members was one of the catalysts for Pastor Shannon to create and promote “Come Back to Church Day” at Greeley Church. Church members were encouraged to reach out to members that had not attended church in a long time to invite them to this special Sabbath. Some church members also invited people who had never been to church at Greeley before.
Pastor Shannon commented, “Several people came to church who hadn’t been to church for a while said that ‘it felt really good to be back in church.’” He is hopeful that the church can come up with new ways to reach out to the extended church family and community and bring them in. “We’re just happy that the people did come back and, hopefully, they’ll stay back in church,” he continued.
—Will Reed is principal and sixth through eighth grades teacher at Greeley Adventist Christian School. Photos by Jim Johnson.