Two thirds of the world still haven’t made a decision about the claims of the Gospel. Many are unreached and isolated, still living without the abundant life that Jesus promised and going towards an eternity without God. Others, however, are near us – our neighbors, co-workers, gym buddies, or simple acquaintances, people we meet regularly at the grocery store, the salon, or when take our dog for a walk. For these, a simple invitation to try out our local church could be the first step of a lifelong walk with Christ and the first moment of an eternity with God.
A Simple Invitation
The sad reality is, only a small percentage of Christ-followers invite their friends to try out their churches. Yet, did you know that a research in the US showed that 82% of unchurched people would attend a church service if a trusted friend invited them?
A Leadership Matter
The act of inviting is the responsibility of every believer, but it is up to leaders (like you and I) to create an environment where people want to invite, and where those who accept the invitation are exposed to the Gospel and desire to come back. Here are a few simple things you and the leadership of your church can do to motivate people to invite their friends, and that help your first-time guests want to come back.
Make Your Church “Invitible.” I know the word doesn’t even exist, but you get the point. If your church service isn’t interesting and compelling, inviting won’t do much good. Let me make it clear, though. It is not about making your church “seeker sensitive” or watering down the Gospel to please visitors, but creating an atmosphere of love that welcomes people and makes them feel at home.
Give Your People Tools. “Our church” hands out a couple small invitation cards for us to give away almost every week. A lot of our relationships are online these days, so you can also create standard e-mails or social media posts that people can copy and paste. Be creative and give them good tools – and do it often.
Motivate. Inviting people to church can’t be a one-time thing. Create a culture of invitation by speaking often about it and sharing testimonials.
Create Special Opportunities. It is easier to invite someone to a special program than to a regular service. Successful churches create “entry events” for unchurched people to get to know your congregation. Special dates like Christmas, Easter, Mother’s day, and others are perfect occasions.
Bathe It All In Prayer. Handing out a simple invitation may seem like a small, even trivial thing, but make no mistake, this is a spiritual warfare strategy. The powers of Evil won’t just stand idle by and let you snatch people from their hands with an invitation card. Fasting and prayer are essential tools in this battle for the souls of our friends and neighbors.
If you are the pastor of a church, you have the opportunity and responsibility to create a culture of inviting people. If you are a leader in a local church, you can influence your church to do it. If you are simply a church member, you get creative, go out, and invite someone to join you this Sunday. I hope you will. That simple act can change someone’s life for eternity.