Harvest Sunday Preparation

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For A Successful Harvest Sunday

Freddie Gage

Harvest Sunday

Preparation is 95%

“Preparation is 95 percent of an evangelistic crusade”

- Billy Graham

Crusade Preparation Manual

“Prayer and means must go together for fruitful results”

- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Christian Greetings

It is a genuine delight to provide you with a detailed guide for a “Go Tell” Harvest Sunday.

Preparation is essential to an effective evangelism event. These suggested plans have been compiled to benefit the local church and to help in planning for your upcoming outreach event.

Spurgeon said, “Prayer and means must go together for fruitful results.” These detailed plans and proven methods are provided so that you and your church might be helped in a practical way to have a glorious outreach event for the glory of God! The sole purpose is to assist the progress of the church in soul winning.

Event Times

Suggested Times for the Outreach Event

For a Successful


BEGIN Sunday Morning Worship


10:20 A. M.

and Sunday Evening



7:00 P. M.


It is strongly suggested that you have the Sunday Morning Worship Service at 10:30 a.m. reasoning for suggesting that the service be at 10:30 a.m. is twofold:

1. Congregation Response

A unified service creates a strong core of response and does not restrict the Holy Spirit.

2. Time Constraints

By having the service begin at 10:30 a.m., there is ample time for an evangelistic service with time for preaching and time for the invitation. Perhaps there are those who are asking, “Well: what happens to those who come for the 11:00 a.m. service?” Good publicity will minimize this.

All of the teenagers should sit at the front and the sections should be roped off for them. There are many reasons for having the young people in the front, but here are a couple:

1.When young people are seated in the balcony or on the back rows, it is impossible for them to get involved spiritually.

2.This sets the pace for the week if the young people are at the front.


The best time for the Sunday Evening Service is at 7:00 p.m. 7:30 p.m. is too late especially during the school year. If the pastor baptizes, begin at 6:50 p.m. If the service is too lengthy, those with small children will not come back.



How to Reach Your Goal For the Outreach Event



The pastor must be the motivator and must oversee all staff and committee members. The reason the pastor is the key man for the Outreach Event is that he will be announcing the plans from the pulpit unless he chooses to have the Crusade Chairman come to the pulpit.


1. Meet with the Chairman and the Co-Chairman of the outreach event.

2 .Announce that no Sunday School teachers are to be absent on Kick-Off Sunday of the Outreach Event. Don’t be heavy-handed, but do be intense.


3. Begin at least 6 WEEKS PRIOR to the crusade meeting with staff, Sunday School teachers and all leadership to promote high attendance. Whether your goal is 2000 or 500 in Sunday School, promote and believe that you can reach that goal.

4. Have a plan. To announce your goal to the congregation without a plan is only asking for failure.

5. Ask each class to choose their own goal. Total the results for church goal.

6. Announce the goal in ALL Sunday School Departments/classes.

7. Have a card printed (see sample below). Sign up every single person in the Sunday services. The key is getting people to write down their commitment to be in Sunday School.

8. Place banners in every department announcing the goal.

9. Organize your Wednesday night attendance into groups of four persons and get them started signing up friends, business associates and class- mates. Then each Wednesday night beginning six weeks prior to the Outreach Event have each group report how many they have signed up and have a sign-up sheet reporting how many each group has signed up.

10. Promote and sign up people from the pulpit. Be the most ENTHUSIASTIC PERSON. Tell how many you have signed up: 17, 21, 36. ..

11. Have your Sunday School teachers promote the Outreach Event in their classes by signing up each member of their classes.

12. Send out personalized letters promoting the Outreach Event. It must be personal. A generic letter will not suffice.

Pastor, YOU are the key! Be sure to familiarize yourself thoroughly with all the information contained in this guide.

Some churches have consistently successful crusades. They seem to do the right things at the right time. So, if you’re going to have an Outreach Event, YOU MIGHT AS WELL HAVE A GREAT ONE! It takes a little extra thought and a little extra effort, but God gives us what we get ready for. It pays off in winning more souls and lifting your folks spiritually higher.


Don’t wait until the last minute to start doing the things you should have done weeks ahead. Get your preparation behind you so that you can concentrate on the outreach in front of you. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Your responsibility is to see that others do their jobs.


Have the church in a state of spiritual renewal when Kick-Off Sunday for the Outreach Event begins.

Involve as many people as possible in the preparation for the Outreach Event.

Be sure to familiarize yourself thoroughly with all the information contained in this guide.

Kick-Off Sunday for the Outreach Event Countdown


Pastor promotes Kick-Off Sunday very enthusiastically from the pulpit. Pastor hands out commitment cards encouraging each member to bring three to five people with them on Kick-Off Sunday.


Organize for Kick-Off Sunday. Think through the whole day and plan for any situation that could arise. Choose helpers: ushers, parking attendants, music, message, building, materials, counselors, catchy phrases, etc.


Youth leaders and teens meet at church at 1:00 p.m. to distribute flyers at shopping centers, malls, and housing developments around the church.

Commitment Calling volunteers come to the church from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. to pick up their information cards to make telephone calls.  Prayer volunteers meet at the church at 6:00 p.m. for a 12-hour prayer vigil.


Send a printed letter to everyone who signed up. Enclose the card they signed as a reminder of their intention. Be sure to keep a duplicate copy of the sign-up cards for the Commitment Calling committee.


Speak with confidence and assurance of reaching the goal. Enlist workers to visit and to telephone those who signed up on Saturday. Push for Victory Visitation on Thursday to finish out the signing up of members or prospects who are not committed.

Announce and plan all-day visitation Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at the church.


All Sunday School teachers and workers arrive at church by 9:00 a.m. for prayer.

Outreach Event Overview

Six weeks prior to Kick-Off Sunday for the Outreach Event the pastor trains the committee chairmen using the information in this guide.

Make sure that every committee understands its responsibilities.

Promote the outreach event. Promote at every gathering of believers and non-believers right up to and during the Harvest Sunday.


  • Attendance
  • Counseling
  • Entertainment and Hospitality
  • Finance
  • Music
  • Nursery
  • Outreach
  • Publicity
  • Spiritual Preparation (or Prayer)
  • Telephone
  • Usher

Chairman and Co-Chairman

The pastor should not be the chairman of the Outreach Event Preparation Committee. The pastor’s major and sole responsibility is to involve others. D. L. Moody said that “it is better to train ten people than do the work of ten people.” The pastor must multiply himself. The pastor’s key role should be spiritual preparation. Assist as needed, but let the Chairman and Co-Chairman and the committees do the work.

Twelve weeks before the outreach event the chairman and co-chairman should be chosen by the pastor. Have a training session and go over step by step all the preparation material with the chairman and co-chairman. The pastor should train the chairman and co-chairman and then let them do the work. Do not give the instruction materials to the chairmen and tell them to do what it says.

Instead, spend at least one hour going over the instructions with the chairmen answering the questions they might find and asking them to make any decisions necessary. Please give it your best and your chairman and co-chairman will reward you with their best.

The more people that are involved the more successful the crusade will be. Recently a local church crusade had 320 involved in one way or another. As a result, the church baptized 166 people. The key was the preparation that had been made by the committees.

Everything rises and falls on leadership. In one event, the chairman of the crusade was a lady. She had been a very successful motivator and saleswoman for Mary Kaye Cosmetics. She drove a new pink Cadillac. It was amazing how God used this lady. She involved the civic clubs, many school officials and the business community. She had a total of over 200 people involved on her com- m it tees in a church that averaged 280 in Sunday School. In another event, the president of the bank was the chairman of the crusade. The crusade started in the church and the last night it was held in the softball stadium. There were 6000 in attendance. Once again the incredible success was due to the chair- man involving over 120 on key committees.

The chairman of the Outreach Event must be a dynamic, aggressive, get-the-job-done individual. The famous preacher, R. G. Lee, said the “you never attempt the resources of God until you do the impossible.” The greatest obstacle to the crusade is finding capable competent leadership –people with a vision.

Kick-Off Sunday for the Outreach Event

One church used the following theme and time line for their Outreach Event:

1. March 7 – GO TELL THE CHILDREN Sunday

  • Saturday morning Children’s visitation
  • Recognition of leadership in morning worship service
  • Pot-luck lunch for leaders and families after morning service

2. March 14 – GO TELL THE YOUTH Sunday

  • Saturday morning Youth visitation
  • Recognition of youth and leadership in morning worship service
  • Youth “Big Mac Attack” after morning service

3. March 21 – GO TELL THE ADULTS Sunday

  • Saturday morning Adult visitation
  • Recognition of adults and leadership in morning worship service
  • Pot-luck lunch for leaders and families after morning service

4. March 28 – GO TELL EVERYBODY Sunday

  • Saturday Church wide visitation

Attendance Committee

The work of your committee should and must begin well in advance. Mere words will not help attendance. The old “bring a friend, neighbor, or all the family members” is always a FLOP.

To “Fail To Plan” is to “Plan To Fail”

If there is to be a harvest, THERE MUST BE PEOPLE PRESENT. It is your responsibility to help get the crowds to every service. Yours is a tremendous task, but with God’s help and a good committee, you can do it! You will need to work closely with the organizations and use every person in every organization that you can possibly use.

Set Goals –Make them a challenge.

Publicize the goals.

Adopt a plan for reaching the goals.

The goals should be adopted in an organizational workers meeting by six weeks prior to the Kick-Off Sunday for the Outreach Event.

Promote the goals and plans in all teacher’s and officer’s meetings.

Everything has been tried for building attendance. Nothing takes the place of PACK THE PEWS if it is executed properly.

Arrange for the following Special Night:

Sunday Night -Pizza Supper -Teenagers Pack The Pews

The Pack- The-Pew plan is suggested for the Sunday night service.

The people to pack the pews should be recruited at least three weeks BEFORE the crusade. They should be recruited face to face so that a clear understanding of what they are expected to do can be explained to them. The name of the per- son packing the pew should be printed on a 3 x 5 card and placed on the side of the pew. If you do not place the person’s name on the pew, you might as well forget it. There is just something about placing a person’s name on the pew that motivates them to work. There must be an initiative for them to fill their pew. Just announcing from the pulpit, “Bill Jones is responsible for filling a pew for Sunday night,” is useless. It will not work.


The names of those packing the pews should be announced from the pulpit, in the church paper, in any crusade mail-outs, over the pastor’s radio and television programs. If possible, even have the church announce it in the local secular newspaper.


Teenagers (grades 7-12) should serve as Pew Captains on Sunday night. They should be signed up two weeks before the Kick-Off Sunday of the Outreach Event.

IMPERATIVE: Names must be placed on the pews prior to crusade.

Note: If you do not have enough teenagers to fill all the pews in your auditorium, then also use adults to help them. The object is to fill every pew on Sunday night. It will work if it is done with enthusiasm and dedication and it will bring glory to God.

A majority of churches have used a “Pizza Party” for the teenagers to help them get to the church early to show the people they have invited to their pews. It also lets the teenagers know you appreciate their efforts. This usually starts one hour before the evening service. It is just a means of packing the house on Sunday night. The teenagers should be signed up to Pack-The-Pew the Sunday before the Outreach Event begins. Attention should be called to it during the service. The pastor will present a gift to the teenager bringing the most in the evening service.

This supper is designed as a means to boost attendance for the service. The evangelist mayor may not attend.


A pizza supper should be planned for Sunday evening prior to the service for the youth. Pizza tickets should be printed and passed out to all of the youth in the community inviting them to come eat pizza and hear the evangelistic message. Print twice as many pizza tickets as there are middle school and high school students in your community. If you have 2,000 students, print 4,000 tickets. The Coca Cola Bottling Company states that nothing is conserved in the mind until it is heard seven times.

The pizza supper should begin at 6:15 p.m. All services should begin at 7:00 p.m.

The evangelist mayor may not appear at the pizza supper. This supper for the young people is used as a means to get them to the service to hear the message in the evangelistic service.



Counseling Chairman should meet with the Pastor and ask him to select the most qualified people in the church to serve as counselors -both men and women. Send each member selected a letter informing them that they have been selected by the Pastor to serve as a counselor during the Outreach Event. Also, ask that they attend a training session on the Saturday before the crusade begins.


Counselor’s Training Session will be conducted by the Pastor.

The following answers should take care of most questions that will arise in regard to the counseling in the coming crusade in your church. Study them carefully.


1. How many counselors should we have for the outreach event?

As a general rule of thumb, there should be one counselor for every twelve in attendance. For a congregation of 250, there should be at least 21 counselors trained and ready.

2. Who should be counselors?

Preferably Sunday School teachers, departmental leaders, deacons, and other leaders. All should be soul winners.

3. What age should the counselors be?

All of the counselors should be eighteen years of age or older and the number evenly divided between men and women.

4. What are the qualifications?

The counselors, besides being assured of their own salvation and living dedicated Christian lives, should all be thoroughly trained.

5. Should there be a head counselor?

Yes, a person already proven to be an experienced soul winner should be head counselor and work closely with the Pastor.


1. Where should we sit?

Counselors should sit at various points throughout the auditorium. Choir member counselors should sit in the choir. No special seats will be assigned.

2. What should we do during the service?

Be particularly prayerful during the service for the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of the lost.

3. At what point in the service do we come to the front?

On the first word of the invitation hymn, all counselors, except those in the choir, should walk the aisle to the altar area and stand quietly with heads bowed, facing the platform, with those making decisions.

4. What is the first question to ask the person who has come forward? This is important! Do not ask, “Why are you coming?” The question D. L. Moody asked cannot be improved upon, “If you were to die tonight, where would you go?” That question answers all the other questions.

For instance, if the person says, “I don’t know,” then immediately begin reading: (I John 5:13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God: that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of GOD.”

Then read: (John 1:12)

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

Then ask the person to share with you w hen Jesus came into his or her heart. If he says, “I don’t know,” then lead him to Christ. Vance Havner says, “If you could get saved and not know it, you could lose it and never know it.” Salvation is a definite experience.

5. What if we run into a problem during our counseling?

Sometimes a person may have a problem besides his lost condition and be difficult to counsel –drug addicts, unwed mothers, persons with marital and legal problems, persons of other faiths. REMEMBER: YOU HAVE ONLY BEEN DIRECTED TO PRESENT CHRIST SIMPLY AND CLEARLY, NOT TO ARGUE OR TO DEAL WITH OTHER PROBLEMS.

If anything arises similar to the above, excuse yourself and get the head counselor, pastor, or evangelist to take over the counseling session. THIS IS IMPERATIVE!

6. What do we do when we’ve finished counseling?

When you’ve finished counseling and your inquirer is assured of his decision for Christ, fill out the decision card. Give special attention to name, address, phone number, age, and church reference. This is vital information. Give the completed decision card to the Pastor. The bottom portion of the card entitled “Initial Visit –Counselor’s Follow-Up Report”, should be kept by you for follow-up.

7. After the card, then what?

Then take the person and the card to the Pastor. If he is busy, wait. DO NOT let the person you’ve counseled leave without first talking with the Pastor. By all means, do not send the person-back to his seat or let the person leave the counseling room until they have been introduced to the Pastor and staff. If it was important enough for them to come forward, we should certainly be concerned enough to read their name so every- one can rejoice over their decision.

8. Why does the Pastor talk with them?

For several reasons. First, to assure that the information on the card is correct and legible. Second, to introduce himself personally to the inquirer. And most important, to talk with him about his new decision –making sure he is sure of what has taken place in his life and that he under- stands about baptism and church membership.



The church should baptize in each service. The invitation is the most important part of any service, and it is important that everything possible is done to insure that every decision is a lasting one. Have ample counselors available to lead the lost to Jesus Christ on an individual basis. Use a counseling room for those responding to the invitation. It would be best to have chairs arranged in pairs so that the counselor/decider will have easy communication

Entertainment and Hospitality Committee

This committee makes arrangements for the evangelist’s and singer’s lodging and meals.


It is best that the evangelist(s) stay in a motel or hotel. This will allow proper privacy for both evangelist and families in church.


Meals can become a burden to both the people and the evangelistic team. Therefore, the only meals in homes should be noon-day meals. Many times the ladies like to get together and have a different circle each day fix a covered dish luncheon and serve the team and church workers in the dining room for the noon meal only.

It is suggested that a restaurant or cafeteria close by be contacted for evening meals and breakfasts. The owner should be approached and asked if it would be all right for the evangelistic team to sign for their meals, and that they will be paid by the church following the crusade. The owners are usually most gracious in complying.

These lodging and meal requests are not meant to be demanding in any way, but after many years of experience in all types of situations, it has been documented that this works best for all concerned.

Finance Committee


1. All offerings from the first service to the last, both plate and envelope, go to the evangelist’s ministry. The churches should pay travel expenses when traveling by plane and $.31 per mile when traveling by automobile. It is best that the personalize offering envelopes be utilized. The envelopes should be passed out in the first service and all other services by the ushers at the door. If the ushers have the envelopes to pass down the aisles, the people do not have enough time to write a check or fill out the envelope. It is most effective to give each person who comes in the door a love-offering envelope. The ushers should be trained in this procedure.

2. All monies should be handled by the local Finance Committee. The check for the love offering should be given to the evangelist(s) at the close of the outreach event and travel expenses and any other expenses should be given him upon arrival. All overhead expenses including crusade publicity, lodging and meals, travel, etc., should be paid out of the church budget. If necessary, an expense offering should be taken at least six weeks prior to the outreach event.

3. One of the most effective ways to receive the offering is for the pastor to write a personalized letter to the entire membership enclosing the envelopes two weeks prior to the crusade.

a. It places the offering directly before the people with a personalized letter from the pastor. They will bring the offering in an envelope the first Sunday morning.

b. Those who may not be able to attend will be given the opportunity to participate in the offering.

c. A great number of the people in the average church are paid every two weeks. Some receive their checks on Friday and by Wednesday their funds are depleted. By mailing them an envelope before the out- reach event begins you offer them the opportunity to give.

In two meetings with the same projected attendance, in the meeting that had mailed out envelopes to its membership the offering was twenty percent above the other meeting.

In one church the Pastor started six weeks prior to the outreach event taking up an offering through the mail. He mailed out envelopes twice, announced the offering in the church paper and made mention from the pulpit about the offering each Sunday for six weeks prior to the crusade.

Music Committee

What a glorious opportunity the Music Director has in making arrangements for the crusade music. The music sets the spiritual temperature for every service. Put yourself at God’s disposal during these days and your efforts will be rewarded with a music program that will thrill men’s hearts and honor the Lord.

This committee is responsible for enlisting the crusade choir, instrumentalists and assisting the crusade soloist in preparation for the crusade music. The Minister of Music (or choir president) would be a good chairman for this work.

The choir should sing songs that motivate the congregation to witness and win souls. This should also be the purpose of every solo. All music should coincide with the theme of the outreach event. Every song should be a sermon and every song should prepare the way for people to come to Jesus. Every message should be a soul-winning message to motivate people to share, witness, and bring others to Jesus Christ.


Secure competent, consecrated instrumentalists.

Organize a crusade choir. Have an overflow, jam-packed choir for each service. Provide crusade choir commitment cards and distribute these cards in all Sunday School classes and youth meetings.

Make certain you have ample songbooks for the number of people anticipated to sing in each service. Concentrate on singing soul-winning messages that will complement the evangelist’s messages on soul winning.


Have a big pot luck dinner to meet with the choir. Then rehearse. From this dinner and rehearsal choir attendance is built for the out-reach event.


Arrive early so there will be time to practice with the crusade singer.

Try to match soloist selections to the evangelist’s message.

Make a joyful noise!!!

Nursery Committee

You have a great job ahead of you and a glorious one. The chairman of this committee must arrange for a sufficient number of nursery workers every night of the outreach event.

The evangelist cannot compete with the children in the service and the children should not be expected to be well behaved for the duration of the service. Eliminating every possible distraction in a service is very important to the success of the crusade.


  1. Select your workers and get them committed to work.
  2. Since you are responsible for a lot of extra services, have a “cushion” of extra help.


  1. Be sure the nursery is well stocked with supplies: Cookies, crackers, juice, etc.
  2. More linens will be needed and there will be more cleaning to do. Plan for this and be ready for it.
  3. Be sure that all workers know what night they will be working.
  4. PUBLISH any changes from normal nursery procedures.



  1. Be sure the workers are there at least 30 minutes early to care for choir member’s children and those who are attending the prayer meeting before the service.
  2. If additional workers are needed it will be your job to request extra help.