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FIRST-PERSON: Spring forward to high attendance

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
INDIANAPOLIS (BP)--It happens on Sunday morning twice each year, and it may affect your church attendance. Need fresh ideas to capitalize on Daylight Savings Time?


They'll lose an hour of sleep. That could negatively affect church attendance, so use every means to help folks remember to change their clocks.

-- Teen texters. The youth group could register church members who want to receive a Daylight Savings Time Sunday wakeup text message.

-- On Saturday, send a mass e-mail note or text message to all members and recent guests. Even better, create a brief, funny video reminder to e-mail.

-- Post a reminder (or the funny video reminder) on your church Facebook page and website.

-- Offer free wakeup calls. Our church's fifth graders gave friendly wakeup calls to their classmates and had an all-time high attendance. Your church could allow all members who want a Sunday morning wakeup call to register for one.

-- Prepare a short, clever message and use a phone tree to send a reminder to each church member.

-- Ask members to Tweet it and post a personal Facebook note. Perhaps "CTC on DST! Come to church on Daylight Savings Time day."

-- Print reminders of the upcoming time change in preceding church bulletins and newsletters.


They'll have less time for breakfast. Why not offer "Breakfast with Bible Study" or serve coffee and breakfast snacks in the foyer as they arrive?



It's inevitable. A few stragglers will arrive just before worship is over, embarrassed that they forgot the time change. Rope off rear pews so the alert ushers can seat them unobtrusively. Give latecomers a coupon for a complimentary recording of the sermon, available immediately after the worship service.


Some churches actually delay their schedule one hour on that Sunday, providing a complimentary breakfast for those who want to arrive at the regular time.


That extra hour of sleep for the fall time change creates an ideal day for "No Excuse Sunday", "When the Role is Called Up Yonder," "Friend Day" or "Really High Attendance Sunday."

Place an ad in your local paper this fall to invite newcomers. Post an exterior church sign: "After your extra hour of sleep on Sunday, come to church!" or "Best Idea for Daylight Savings Day: Come to church here."

Make a huge push for Sunday School or small group attendance. Publish a current list of classes. Double the number of greeters to escort guests to classes.

Reward earlybirds. Ask several greeters to arrive an hour early to warmly welcome accidental-early-birds who forgot to reset their clock. Signs can list early opportunities. "Glad you arrived early today," the sign might read. "Right now, you may:


-- "Go inside the worship center to watch our musicians rehearse."

-- "Stop by your church library. It's open early just for you."

-- "Enjoy breakfast snacks and visit with friends in the foyer." (Add a dish of gummy worms with a fun sign, "The early bird gets the worm!")

-- "Step in the prayer chapel for live meditation music and private prayer time."

Yes, Daylight Savings Time may be somewhat inconvenient on the Lord's Day. Plan well, asking God to touch lives during those two Sundays each year. After all, every hour belongs to Him.

This column was excerpted from Diana Davis' "Fresh Ideas-1,000 Ways to Grow a Thriving and Energetic Church" (B&H Publishing). Visit Diana Davis' website,

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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