As much as I believe in giving personal invitations to church, I can’t say that I personally know that many people who sit at home just hoping someone would invite them to church.
Statistics show that some people will respond to an invitation to church, and that such invitations are often part of the conversion process.
But in our busy culture, it might take months of repeated invitations before a person accepts and attends.
Why is that?
They Value Something Else
An unchurched person usually has something more important to do than attend your church.
Frankly, I’m sometimes so bored with how church is done that I’d rather do something else as well.
This question boils down to the value of time. Does attending your church provide value in exchange for the time?
Jesus saw this happening.
When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
Luke 14:15-20 (NIV)
They all had more important things to do. Good things. Valuable things. Things they didn’t want to trade the time for.
You value Sunday morning at church, your friend doesn’t
You find your Sunday morning gathering important. You see your friends. You hear a sermon that is likely relavent to your life. You give of your tithes and offerings to support the mission of the church.
You are emotionally engaged with your congregation. You are there when your friends need you, and you likewise will receive their care when you need them.
Church is “home” for you.
It’s a family home where you have grown to love, value, and treasure the relationships.
If you are actively serving in a volunteer role, you find a tremendous sense of value that helps you set aside other good things to serve.
if you are volunteering in your community on some of the church mission projects, you find value.
Your friend is not there.
Start creating value through service
I picked this idea up from Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love.
Chan reminds us in Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God that following Christ calls us to give ourselves away in service for the Kingdom of God. As we do, we can’t help but share the wonder of who God is, the motives of our service, and find the joy of inviting people to join us in transforming the world as followers of Christ.
In the book, Chan calls the church to live out Isaiah 58:10
if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry, satisfy the needs of the oppressed
He argues that community service and volunteer opportunities become invitable events.
You invite your friends to serve along side of you in your church’s mission. You invite your friends to give themselves away as well.
In the process, they will meet other believers from your church and have a chance to learn more about your church and it’s mission.
Start creating value through relevant sermon series
In our own church, we choose short sermon series that address issues of everyday life.
Short sermon series that are four to six weeks in length provide value to visitors and church members for their daily life.
One series will often lead to another.
Start creating value through relationships
Your church will not grow if your visitors are not returning and connecting with people in your congregation.
My family once attended a local fellowship for nearly 6 months. It was a fellowship with about 100 people at the service we attended.
Not one person made an effort to talk with us. This church had all the right hospitality systems:
- Visitor Table
- Contact Cards
- Church Ushers (See this Ministry Guide for Church Ushers)
- Church Greeters (See this Ministry Guide for Greeters)
They were doing all the right hospitality ministry, but there was not a single person who said hello to us. Even the pastor remained a stranger to us during this time.
We eventually grew bored and left.
There was no value in going.
We had better things to do.
Your church will not grow if you visitors don’t begin to feel that investing their time with your church would make a meaningful difference to them.
What would an unsaved, unchurched person value about the spiritual life of your church community that would be more important than what they already do on a sunday morning?
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