Planning a Friendship Sunday Series
How to Use the Resources
The outline below shows how the sermons, PowerPoint presentations, children’s messages, and other resources provided here (links at bottom of page) were used at Mt. Olive Lutheran in Milpitas, California, for a four week Friendship Sunday series.
Note that material for five additional sermons themed to different times of the year, could be used as the Friendship Sunday sermon in week four, depending on where your four week series falls during the year.
Information on drama, video and illustration resources is provided. Note the information on video licensing, which is required to show clips of movies in a public gathering such as worship.
One final, important note. Preparing to "Welcome Guests Well" and planning for an "Intentional follow-up Strategy" are very important parts of a Friendship Sunday emphasis, and are detailed in the linked material.
- Goal: introduce the theme during worship, children’s message, and Sunday School. We cast the goal of at least 100 “friends” in worship on May 1. Our average attendance is 300.
- Bumper music for greeting/handshake time: “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts (theme from TV show “Friends”)
- Goal: by the end of the sermon, each hearer will identify 3 individuals that they will invite to Friendship Sunday on May 1. The sermon included teaching on receptivity. Children’s message included this focus. Makes use of a baseball theme.
- Bumper Music for greeting/handshake time: “Centerfield” by John Fogerty (“Put me in, Coach”)
- Gave out “Impact/Invitation Cards” for individuals to “target mail” with their signature and personal postage stamp.
- Sunday School students received child-focused invitations to give away to their friends.
- Enlisted additional greeters, Welcome Center workers, and people to staff the name tag tables.
- Enlisted people and distributed phone call lists with “talk sheets” to invite people from our attender and pre-attender data base.
- Enlisted people to make follow-up phone calls within 2 days of Friendship Sunday.
- Goal: teach the congregation how to “do the ask” – extending the invitation through both indirect and direct methods. Instructed the congregation how the next Sunday would work, the things we needed them to do to welcome people, the challenge to park away from the choice parking spots, and the importance of personal follow-up.
- Bumper music for greeting/handshake time: “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman (Song from “Toy Story”)
- Gave out additional “Impact/Invitation Cards” for individual mailings. Sunday School received additional child-focused invitations.
- In the week prior to May 1, Milpitas Post Newspaper carried an ad about Friendship Sunday on May 1 which included the promotion of special guest musical performance by Manuel Romero (Latin Grammy Nominated Recording Artist and member of our church). Manuel sang two Chris Tomlin songs, “Unfailing Love” and “How Great is our God,” accompanied by our worship band.
- All the guests in the database received phone call invitations and also an “Impact/Invitation Card” in the mail prior to May 1.
Week Four – Friendship Sunday
- Goal: invite our friends to personally know our friend, Jesus.
- A substantial “coffee bar” with a wide variety of juice, coffees, flavor additives, creamers, fresh scones, and juices was available before and after each of the 3 services.
- Name tag tables in place; greeters to welcome every person who attended
- Welcome Center staffed all morning, even during worship
- Special welcome of guests to Sunday School
- People introduced their friends and family to others. Those that invited friends walked them to the Welcome Center after worship to get their gift and turn in the Welcome Card (registration).
- Awesome morning of worship! We had 120 more people in worship on May 1 than we had on April 24!
Special Production Pieces within worship
- “Jay Walking” – man on the street interview video - “What’s a Friend?”
- “Friendship” by Cole Porter performed in character by two drama team members to a re corded accompaniment track
- By Sunday evening, the database was updated with guests’ names and contact information, plus name of person inviting them; cross-referenced with children in SS.
- “Thanks for joining us” letter with a cassette recording of a past message (our church’s story, passion and vision) mailed Monday.
- Phone call sheets distributed via email Monday afternoon to callers. Phone calls to guests began Monday night.
- Pastor made usual phone calls to guests on Thursday evening to thank them for coming and invite them back.
- Our people were reminded via email to follow up with a personal thank you and another invitation.
- Those who attended were added to the permanent database and received the Summer “Community Connections Newsletter” two weeks later.
- Follow-up mailing in early June with invitations to VBS (June 20-24), to special Father’s Day worship services on June 17, and to a Dr. Paul Maier event to debunk the “DaVinci Code” with the real Jesus (August 6).