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Friend Day reaches friends

Friend Day is a simple plan for doubling your attendance in 5 weeks. It is best held in the spring or fall or on a special day when visitors are most likely to attend. For the plan to be successful all church leaders must participate in the program. Although all your attendance growth will be on this one Sunday, 4 weeks of preparation are necessary. Here is a week-by-week guide.

Week 1

  • Print Friend Day commitment cards to distribute during week 3.*
  • Encourage everyone to invite one friend. If each one will bring one, you will double your attendance on Friend Day.
  • Ask all members to write down the names of friends, relatives, and associates they could bring to Friend Day.
  • Have the pastor read to the congregation a Friendship Day commitment card from a friend he has invited who has agreed to attend on Friend Day as the pastor's guest. The pastor should try to invite a person prominent in the community and known to those in the church.
  • Post the card on the bulletin board or reprint it in the bulletin for all to see.
  • Challenge each Sunday School teacher and every other leader in the church to get a commitment from at least one person who will be his or her guest on Friend Day.
  • Begin a series of sermons on the theme of friendship.

Week 2

  • Ask the church staff and board members to read their letters of commitment from their friends who will come to Sunday School and church with them on Friend Day.
  • Post these letters on a bulletin board or other highly visible spot for all to see.
  • Encourage members to pray daily and specifically for their friends and for Friend Day.

Week 3

  • Ask each Sunday School teacher and worker to read his or her letter of commitment from the friend who will be attending on Friend Day.
  • Distribute Friend Day commitment cards for your members to give to their friends. Each person should invite at least one friend to be his or her special guest on Friend Day and to affirm that intention by signing a Friend Day commitment card.
  • Instruct each teacher or class leader to phone students during the week to remind them to complete their commitment cards and turn them in on the fourth Sunday.

Week 4

  • Collect all the commitment cards from congregation.
  • Instruct each class to take time to pray specifically for their friends and for Friend Day.
  • Remind teachers or class leaders to send cards to their class encouraging them to arrange with their friends to come with them next Sunday, Friend Day.

Week 5 - Friend Day

This day should be specifically planned to honor your friends and to be meaningful to them. Prepare for company. Design the Sunday School class, the morning worship service, and every other aspect of the day with your friends in mind. You may want to have an all-church dinner with the friends as guests or encourage the members to take their friends to lunch. Present the gospel clearly, lovingly, and relevantly. Announce upcoming special events that would be of interest to your unchurched friends. Do your best to build the kind of relationship that makes further contact with your friends possible.

Week 6 - Follow-up

  • Preserve the results of your Friend Day efforts with effective follow-up.
  • Get the name, address, and phone number of each guest. Monday mail a letter from the pastor, and designate someone from the church/Sunday School class make a phone call.
  • Encourage each member to send a thank-you card to his or her guest for Friend Day.
  • Add the guests' names to your church mailing list.
  • Encourage each one who brought a guest to continue to reach out to that friend or family member.

Maintaining appropriate contact with each guest lets them know the church cares about them and their needs. With good planning, hard work, and compassion for the lost, your church and Sunday School can be a friendly place for unchurched people.

* The Friend Day Manual can be ordered from Gospel Publishing House (1-800-641-4310) or Church Growth Institute (1-800-553-4769).

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