I had a follower on twitter who ordered a “Bring a Friend campaign in a box.”
It was a laughable experience.
It ultimately failed.
He felt like he wasted his money.
Originally designed in the 1980s, it has never updated (except moving the recordings to CD from the cassettes).
The campaign failed to rally the church. The materials involved were dated, cheesy and downright tacky (including the Bring a Friend Tie Pins!).
It was embarrassing and a waste of money.
The idea of Bring a Friend Sunday still works, but you can skip the 80s marketing material.
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association provides a simpler plan and excellent brochures that you can use.
They call it Operation Andrew. Youth Versions are available.
Operation Andrew is a classic bring a friend church growth strategy based on John 1:40-45
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee.
Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida.
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
Operation Andrew works by tapping Social Networks
John had spoken to his friend Andrew.
Andrew spoke with his brother Simon.
Jesus found Phillip and Phillip connected with a friend, Nathanael.
In this example, there is not a whole lot of cold-turkey door-knocking evangelism happening.
Rather a spread of the good news through existing social networks: among friends and family.
This has been translated into a strategy some call the Billy Graham Association calls Operation Andrew.
Basic Strategy of Operation Andrew
This is a variant of some of the Bring a Friend campaigns.
The basic steps over 6 weeks are as follows:
- Pass out Operation Andrew cards or brochures six weeks prior, and walk through the steps together as a congregation.
- Pray and ask the congregation to write names on their Operation Andrew cards of friends, family, or neighbors who are lost.
- In the following weeks, hold a congregational prayer time for the people listed on cards.
- Ask God for opportunities to invite people to “Bring a Friend” Sunday.
- Use a simple prayer: “Open my eyes, open their hearts, open my mouth.”
- Use a variety of ways to remind people frequently to pray for those on their lists.
- On “Bring a Friend” Sunday, share the opportunities in your church that are easy for new people to connect. These opportunities should be about building relationships, not promoting church membership.
- Present the Gospel clearly on “Bring a Friend” Sunday, and give people a chance to respond.
- Hold another event soon after “Bring a Friend” Sunday such as a Question and Answer dinner, a time to meet the pastor and staff, or a musical night.
- Make sure that opportunities are available in the subsequent weeks for follow-up and discipleship.
5 Principles of Operation Andrew
From the BGEA website:
Look Around where you live, work, or go to school—this is your mission field. Make a list of names of individuals you know who need Jesus Christ, and commit to pray for the people on your list regularly.
Look Up because God changes people through prayer. Pray each day for those on your list, that God will give you opportunities to share His love with them.
Look Out for ways to cultivate friendships with each person on your list. Spend time with them. An invitation to dinner or a sporting event will build friendships, which can open the way to talk about Christ. Remember: don’t preach. Listen and be a good friend.
Look Forward and begin to talk with each person on your list about watching a television program or a Billy Graham TV Special, going to the Billy Graham Library, reading a book, going to church, or attending an event such as a Crusade or Festival with you. Choose a specific date, pray, and invite them.
Look After those who respond to Christ or even begin to show interest in the Gospel, for they need your encouragement. Continue to love and pray for those who do not respond.
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