Several months ago I attended the funeral of an old family friend. Johnny lived to be 95 years old and had been friends with my parents and grandparents. He loved the Lord and was active in service at his church for many years. When I talked to his son at the funeral, I learned something about Johnny that I never knew. He and his wife were neighbors of my grandparents many, many years ago. One day my grandfather invited them to go to church with him and they gladly accepted. While attending church with my grandparents, Johnny and his wife Gladys were saved! They spent decades of selfless service in the local church, impacting untold numbers of people. Their lives, and the lives of many others, were changed forever because my grandfather just simply extended an invitation to come to church.
What about us? Are we telling people about our church? Have we made others aware of our church or is it one of our best untold secrets? Our neglect of others around us is costly and devastating, not only to them, but to us as well! Imagine how many Johnnys and Gladys's we've ignored!
We ALL can do this! Some of us may not feel entirely equipped to adequately answer complicated Bible theology questions, but we certainly can extend invitations to people to come to church to find answers.
What kind of people must we be if we do not ask others to join in on something that is so vitally important in our own lives? What kind of Christians must we be if we're keeping the church to ourselves? The Bible tells us that we are to love others as we love ourselves. I imagine there's much effort and planning that happens in each of our respective families as we prepare ourselves to get to church and small group each week. Shouldn't some of that effort and planning be directed towards other people?
How do we do that? Here are a few simple thoughts:
- Have regular conversation about your church with family, neighbors, friends and work associates. Talk about what you're learning, what you're involved in and how it's impacting your life. If we really love something, doesn't it just automatically come up in the course of conversation? If something has a regular profound effect in your life, isn't it something you're going to tell everyone? Speak highly of your church. Airing your frustrations or disappointments does great damage in stirring the interest of others.
Just talking about church may perk someone's ears up and they may come out of curiosity, but some other people need to be asked directly. They need to feel like they are important enough to you and that you cared enough to ask. Just plainly tell them that you'd like them to come to church with you. Offer to sit with them, meet them in the parking lot or offer to pick them up if necessary.
Be prepared with the church website information, meeting place and time, phone numbers, etc. The refrigerator magnets available on the information table in the lobby are a fantastic tool for this. Carry them with you and give them to people as you extend your invitation.
Don't forget to pray that God would lead unchurched people to you and that you could seize every opportunity to speak openly about your church.
If our church is going to grow in its capacity to minister to people and make disciples, then we each need to do our part in making sure that everyone we come in contact with knows that they are welcomed to come and worship with us at Harvest!
Many blessings to you,