Be open. God can create pathways into faith and Christian community out of any number of circumstances. Advertising helps. Websites open doors. Most of the time though, people come to Jesus and into Christian community through friendship.
The number one reason people give for not attending church is "No one has invited me."
It sounds old-fashioned and way too simple, but here it is: Inviting a friend to church is one of the greatest gifts you can give, and it will forever be the most common way to grow God’s kingdom and build God’s church.
How Do I Invite a Friend?
The keys to inviting a friend will always be generosity and courage. But as for strategies, you can try …
… a phone call or face-to-face invitation
… an e-mail or text
… a card or letter
And if you’re struggling for the right words, try something like this:
“We really enjoy going to Sunridge Church. Is that something you’d ever want to try one Sunday?”
What If They Are Offended?
Very few people are offended by generous invitations to church. Why?
- Most people are God-friendly. A very small percentage of people in our culture are atheistic. Most are curious and already have at least a mild form of spiritual sensitivity.
- According to surveys, the number one reason people give for not attending church is “No one has invited me.”
- People are hungry for community even if they’re unsure about Jesus.
When’s the best time to reach out and invite a friend?
Anytime is good, but the best time is during life transitions ...
- Engagement or marriage
- Birth of a child
- Move to a new community
- Death of a loved one
- Job change
- Separation or divorce
- Empty nest
- Facing chronic illness
Is There Anything Else I Should Do for Them?
When we invite friends, it really helps to ...
- Plan a casual lunch together after church. Depending on the nature of the friendship, it opens the door to sharing about impressions and questions.
- Follow up in the simplest ways. Offer to sit with them again next week. Or write a note saying how cool it was to have them with you.
What If My Guest Asks Questions I Can’t Answer?
- It’s never a put-off to say, “Great question. Let’s find out.”
- If it’s a deep question about God, be “testimonial” more than theological. “This is what my relationship with God has meant to me.” Remember, you are the expert on your own story!
- If you discover that your friend holds views that are different from what the Church teaches, be patient. This is not the day to argue or persuade. With ongoing exposure to scripture and Christian community, God reshapes our worldviews and brings all of us clarity.
The Challenge Now
Pray for the moment and just do it! Someone you care about will enjoy a relationship with Jesus and an eternity with God because you extended yourself in this simple way.