8 Reasons I Would Have a “High Attendance Day” at Church

Let me say first that I realize some readers will hear this idea as “cheesy” and “man-centered,” but here are my thoughts nevertheless. When I started pastoring more than 30 years ago, churches often had an annual “high attendance day.” The goal that day was to reach an attendance goal that typically was higher than any other week that year. Despite my belief that many churches today are far too programmatic and pragmatic, I would still go back to having an old-fashioned high attendance day (though I would not call it by that name). Here’s why:

  1. It focuses on people. I’m well aware that such an emphasis can put numbers above people, but that’s not an automatic result. Done well with an intentional focus on the unchurched, a high attendance day truly can emphasize people.   
  2. It reminds members of a central task of the church. God expects us to reach others with the gospel. We are to make disciples, both near us and around the world. Most congregations, though, need help remembering that calling. A simple, fun, focused attendance emphasis is one way to do that.
  3. It leads the church to evaluate its growth patterns. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a church looking at its attendance numbers and then seeking to reach more people. Attendance benchmarks help the church to see where they are and then challenge them to reach more unchurched folks.
  4. It pushes members to think beyond themselves. Most church members not only have never shared their faith, but they’ve also not invited anyone to church. An intentional outreach focus can at least turn their attention outwardly.
  5. It challenges the church to pray about the unchurched. You’d hope that a church always prays this way, but that’s not often the case. A high attendance emphasis that calls the church to pray for unchurched family members, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow students is a positive thing.
  6. It moves the church toward excellence. On the “big day” of a high attendance campaign, the church wants to be ready. They want greeters at every door. They want everything to be first-rate for any guests who might attend. A move in this direction, even for only one Sunday, can nudge the church in a right direction.
  7. People will hear the gospel. That’s the primary point of an attendance emphasis, anyway. Somebody who has never heard the good news might come and hear about Jesus. If so, that’s worth all the effort.
  8. Any “balloon” growth often leads to more growth. If a church comes close to meeting its goal, it’s unlikely that “balloon” of temporary growth will last – but it often does still result in some level of consistent growth.

What are your thoughts? Would you have something like a “High Attendance Day” in your church?


  • Brian Doyle says:

    I certainly support reminding people of the central task of the church but question whether there is a connection to high attendance Sunday. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could develop people so that they have ‘personal ministry’ in their home, their neighborhood, their workplace and in their community and that they would see their church as a place to receive training and equipping to become disciple makers?

  • I attend church to worship the risen Christ, to study the Bible, and to be admonished and built up by the preaching of God’s Word. I meet with God at those times.

    Hence I will not acknowledge a “special reason” for being there next Sunday. Or telling others there’s a “special reason” for coming next week.

  • Chuck Lawless says:

    Thank you, Bob, for your thoughts.

  • Seth Polk says:

    I agree with you Dr. Lawless. Leading the church to be intentional and focused all of the time, is not mutually exclusive from having an occasional emphasis to further the work. It can also have a positive impact on people considering attending. If it is something seasonally related for example, and people who do not attend know it is something unique the church is doing, they may feel less intimidated knowing other new people are likely to attend.

  • Robert Cates says:

    As a 72 year old, long time Church Growth Consultant, I believe Churches should have a HAD 2-4 times a year with different themes. But once a year should be an all out effort to reach as many members who are not attend, the unchurched and the lost. Remember the law of contacts 10/7/1. Thanks for your comments and bringing this to people.

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