Wednesday, June 15, 2016

This is a question posed to me by a few people lately and I wanted to try and tackle it.

It’s a strange dilemma, if I’m honest, I still feel a bit nervous when inviting people to church. It reminds me of what it felt like when asking someone to the big dance.

“What if they say no?” “What if they think I’m weird?” “What if they laugh at me?”

All those kinds of things run through my mind. And yet, the more I talk to Christians the more I find I’m not alone. Many of us struggle with that nervous tension. It would be easy to talk ourselves out of inviting people to church if it weren’t for this one truth: Everyone spends eternity somewhere. Yes, I’m one of those crazy people who still believes in Heaven and Hell. And yes, I also believe Jesus is the only way to God, because He is God.

All that said, I’ve learned some things over the years about how to invite people to church. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will accept your invitation but following these few suggestions can definitely help.

1. Have a place worthy of your invitation. If you aren’t excited about your church and desperately hoping your friend, neighbor, spouse and/or co-worker will attend this Sunday, why are you still there?

2. Be specific. The following rarely works: “You should come to church with me sometime.” It works about as much as, “We should do lunch sometime.”

You have to be specific. “Will you join me this Sunday for the 11 am service at our church? I can pick you up around 10:15, we’ll get some coffee along the way and then go to lunch afterwards. How’s that sound?”

3. Be an expert about the Family Ministry environments at your church. If you are inviting parents with kids, the single most important issue on their mind is, “Will my kids be safe and will they like it?” Do your homework and let them know you’re already thinking about their kids. Email them information about the kids programs. Tell them stories about how much your kids or your friends’ kids enjoy the church. (If you aren’t sure the kids enjoy your church’s family ministry environments, please see point #1.)

4. Leverage the church’s website. More and more churches are trying to help you invite your friends. Check out their website, Facebook page, etc.

5. Don’t give up. My experience is that I have to be persistent and keep inviting. I can’t tell you how many times friends of mine have said they were coming to church on Sunday only to cancel on Saturday night. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t be defeated. Hang in there. Keep inviting them.

This isn’t about church attendance. It’s about eternity. And when eternity’s at stake, we can push through the awkward tension knowing that we’re simply doing what Jesus did – reaching out to those who are far from God.

So, who are you inviting to church this Sunday?

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