Every weekend, we challenge our church members to invite someone to the next sermon series.
Each week, we call our church members to invite someone to small group.
You probably do it to.
In fact, many people would rather give a church invitation than personally share the gospel.
Have you seen that happen?
Does an invitation to church equal evangelism?
A recent conversation I’ve been participating in is
Yes or No: Does an invitation to church equal evangelism?
If one is holding to a technical definition of evangelism as proclamation of the gospel, then a church invitation is not evangelism.
The definition of evangelism usually involves the announcement of our sinful condition before God and God’s remedy in Christ.
An invitation to church has nothing to do with the proclamation of the gospel.
Sure, it’s a triggering event to hear the gospel, but in and of itself, the invitation is not evangelism.
Is a church invitation an evangelistic activity?
I consider evangelism as the entire process
- of a person awakening to their spiritual restlessness
- seeking answers to that restlessness
- hearing how Jesus is the way God satisfies that thirst.
- hearing about our sinful condition before God.
- hearing the proclamation of Jesus as Lord and our need to repent
- the call to place faith in Christ and live as a follower of Jesus.
If one considers evangelism as a process or journey that has many elements to it, than an invitation to church is one element.
It’s an evangelistic element.
Every conversation about faith, every rumination in the late night hours, every invitation to church, every sermon heard, every bible verse read, every small group conversation all become “seeds” that that the Lord uses in the drawing process.
John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws Him, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
An invitation to church can be part of the drawing process.
It’s an evangelistic activity.
When two of John’s disciples overheard John say, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” they followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and asked, “What are you looking for?”
They responded, “”Rabbi where are you staying?”
Jesus said, “Come and see.” “They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day.” John 1:35-39 (NRSV)
Even the disciples were invited to spend time in the presence of Jesus.
Then Andrew turned to his brother and invited him: “Come and see.”
Different levels of evangelistic activity
As I mention in this post in Growing from Witness to Evangelist, there are different levels of evangelistic activity.
I have found this little tool helpful to offer to people in my seminars. Here is how to use it:
Take a moment and place yourself on that scale.
- Where are you most comfortable?
- What can you do in the next 6 months to move to the next level?
Then offer a sharing time and have people set a goal for their personal growth in evangelism.