In the previous article in the series of giving more invitations to church, I focused on prayer.
As I continue to look at various ways to increase the number of personal invitations to church that your church members give, today’s article is focused on the number of personal friends who are unchurched.
For that to happen, our church members must be in regular and ongoing contact with people who do not go to church.
Trusted Relationships lead to Church Invitations
Are your church members actively engaged in intentional relationships with people who don’t know Christ?
How about you? What is your honest answer to that question?
Active involvement in the life of non-Christians will put you in a place to give a personal invitation to church.
As you regularly attend your church, you’ll see places where a sermon series might connect with the life struggles of your friend.
You’ll hear sermons that will make you think: “I wish my friend could hear this.”
Or you’ll hear some wisdom from a sermon that will allow you to speak the Bible’s wisdom directly into the life of your friend.
If you are actively involved in the life of non-Christians, you’ll begin to see connections between their needs and opportunities to invite them to church.
Even new relationships can provide a context for a church invitation
I regularly visit a park in the late afternoons. I’ve met another immigrant dad who is always there with his daughter.
While our kids play together, we usually have a conversation.
We are still in the “getting to know you” phase of a friendship, since the only thing in common is our kids playing in the park a few afternoons at a time.
Yet, within the 2nd or 3rd conversation I could tell he was open to an invitation to my church. We had been talking about church attendance and activities, and it became a recurring theme in our short conversations.
He told me he didn’t attend church regularly. He expressed his desire that he wanted to start taking his daughter somewhere. He even mentioned that was casually looking but was nervous about attending a place without any prior contact.
Our conversation led to a natural invitation to church.
A few conversations gathered enough trust to make a safe invitation to church.
Are your church members involved in the life of unchurched people?
Maybe it’s time to invite people to take inventory of their current relationships and intentionally develop new ones.
Herb Miller wrote a short list in Church Effectiveness Nuggets (Vol 8) that can help you lead people to reflect upon their social network:
Either in printed form or oral form, or both, the following paragraphs raise consciousness concerning people the worshippers could invite to worship.
Read the paragraphs slowly at an appropriate time in the worship service, accompanied by meditative background music.
- Think of family members: spouse, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, inlaws, nephews, and nieces.
- Think of neighbors: next-door neighbors, elderly persons in the neighborhood, and new families on your block.
- Think of people at work: supervisors, employees you supervise, secretaries, clerical staff, students you teach, clients, new staff members, and colleagues you see occasionally.
- Think of friends with whom you dine out: single friends, parents of your child’s friends, old friends from school, and friends of your spouse.
- Think of casual associates: your dentist, doctor, real estate or life insurance agent, your child’s teacher, merchants, service or luncheon club members, people who belong to clubs or associations or professional groups that you attend, babysitters,sales representatives who call on you, people who graduated from the same university.
- Think especially of people undergoing personal life stresses of some kind. These individuals are often ready to hear answers to their problems from within the Christian faith: People who recently divorced, couples with new babies, families that have experienced a recent death, households where someone has lost their job or suffered business reverses.
Use this procedure in morning worship two times a year as a stand-alone part of the worship experience.
The following week, several worshippers will notice the “invisible people” in their circle of acquaintances who do not attend church.
Noticing is the first step toward inviting.
Other ways to help your members think through their list of friends:
- Do you have any non-Christian Friendships?
- Drifting Away from the World that eventually isolates us from the world and surrounds us with only Christian friends.
- Sphere of Influence 3: Where do you play
- Spheres of Influence 2: Where do you Work?
- Sphere of Influence 1: Where do You Live
- Spheres of Influence
- Make a prayer list of friends