This one I struggle with, the church invite. Why is it so difficult? I love my church, and I’m sure I’m with a lot of you when I say I would do anything for them. So why is it that I’m so scared to invite? And why is it that the people closest to me are the most intimidating to ask the question to?
I find it curious that I often have an easier time inviting strangers to church then my neighbor. To me, it a comfort thing, a stranger says no and I don’t see them ever again, a neighbor says no and I still must wave at them every morning pulling out of the driveway. My nature is that I never want any part of my life to be awkward. Asking the girl who cuts my hair to church and then having to see her every other week after she’s rejected my offer would be too much for me to bare.
Here’s the thing, I know that’s not right. The people who are the closest to me should be the ones I invite most often. God wants me to populate Heaven, period, and in that I should be inviting everyone, sharing with everyone, praying for everyone to seek out Jesus and all he has to offer.
First things first.
I need to find the right time to invite. And I mean this in the sense that, ringing the doorbell at dinner time really isn’t the best way of going about this. I think that the right time is when you find yourself in a state of service to or around that person. If your neighbor is working on their car, lend a hand. If they just pulled in their driveway with a load of lumber for a project, help them unload it. If you’re at Starbucks, pay for the person behind you and develop a pattern of service to others. If you’re at work, help others when you’re done with your own work, show compassion and service to your co-workers. All of this sets up the invite. It creates opportunities to ask the big question “Do you have a church home? Because I would like to invite you to our service this Sunday.”
If you find yourself in a position of service, just like Jesus, then you’ll find that it becomes easier to invite. You’re showing what a Christian looks like, what they do, how they serve. And here’s what happens when they say no, you continue to take the roll of service. You take the awkward part and turn it into an opportunity to continue what you’ve started with them. Trust me when I say, when you show them what a Christian looks like, they will never be the same, and neither will you.
Pray for them, no matter if they’re a Christian, Atheist or a Steelers Fan, pray for them. You would be surprised to see what God handles when you pray for that invite to go well. You have a direct line to the Father and he’s just been waiting for you to say out loud what you already want, your friend, your co-worker, your struggling family member, to say yes to an invite to church.
I think back on my own life, and not knowing, I could guarantee that someone was praying for me to except an invite to church. God answered that prayer, made sure I was greeted when walking in, made sure the music was just right and made sure the sermon what specifically written just for me.
And if you pray and they still say no, just keep on praying. God’s timing in never late, he will deliver, you just have to keep speaking on behalf of your friend.
Share your testimony. This is a tough one, but when other see how God has moved in your life, they will respond. I can think of a time when I was angry at the world, disappointed in how things in my life were turning out, and all around, a jerk. This all turned around the day I found Jesus and excepted him as my lord and savior.
How much do I hate my neighbor that I wouldn’t share this with them? As a follower of Christ, it’s actually my obligation to tell my testimony. Your neighbors, friends, co-workers need to know what could be and should be in their lives. This is done by passionately following Jesus and striving to be like him in every way.
Okay, so it’s still important to invite strangers. And if you’re walking with Christ it should be easy for them to see Christ in you. However, there is not a lot of follow up with a stranger. That’s when I find the invite card the best way. But don’t just say, here you go, take a second, write your name on the invite. Take a second and explain things to them. Is your church casual? What should they wear. What kind of music do you have. What should they expect.
At the end of the day, we need to be inviting. I heard something good the other day. Don’t be a Travel Agent, be a Tour Guide. A Travel Agent sends people where they’ve never been before themselves. A Tour Guide shows you all the exciting things they’ve experienced, enjoyed and learned from first hand. Be the Tour Guide for your church and go out there and start booking tours!!!