Perhaps you know that allusion to the 1989 film “Field of Dreams” when the whispered phrase “if you build it, they will come” motivates a farmer baseball fan to plow his corn over in order to build a baseball field. If you don’t know the allusion-now you do 🙂
In inviting teens to events (which I do often in my job as a Youth Center Director at The Factory Ministries)-I often effectively get these awesome teens to come out to stuff when there is FREE FOOD. Who doesn’t love free food, right?! This morning, I have two teens coming to church with me that I promised breakfast to before we head into the service. It’s a joy for me to tell friends, students, co-workers, etc. “Hey! How about you come over to my place (or meet at IHOP) for breakfast (I’m thinking blueberry pancakes!) and then we’ll go to church together, you game?” Breakfast gives a casual, peaceful time to connect or relax their nerves if their anxious about church for whatever reason. It can be a time they ask questions, or a time just to laugh together-mark the day with joy-before heading into the service.
Consider these statistics from a 2014 article in Christianity Today:
- 67% of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be very or somewhat effective in getting them to visit a church.
- 63% of Americans say a personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would be very or somewhat effective in getting them to visit a church.
- 63% of Americans are very or somewhat willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a family member.
- 56% of Americans are very or somewhat willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a friend or neighbor.
Even though this is a couple years old, I think the message is clear and still accurate. You’ve got a pretty good chance of getting a positive reaction to inviting someone to church! Many people long for community, are curious about the gospel and its effect in people’s lives, and miss going to church but are overwhelmed by the prospect of finding one and being the “new person”. God can use you to alleviate some of their fears and misconceptions!
Maybe baking scones isn’t your thing–find something that is! Inviting them to church is AWESOME, but inviting them into a friendship relationship is an imperative piece of the puzzle. Maybe you and your co-worker bond over tennis, or movies, or your kids–so maybe incorporate that into a Sunday after church activity that gives you the opportunity to be with them at church, and then process the service together over lunch, or time on a court, or while your kids swim, etc. etc. etc.
- Lovingly and kindly invite people to church-they often will come!
- You have to know the difference church and the gospel makes in your life, so that this is a natural outpouring of the change in you
- Don’t JUST invite them-be with them every step of the way
- Things like: park here, I’ll be in the foyer, my family sits here you can too–can make the morning so comfortable and stressless for your visitor
- Build a relationship with them through doing something else together
- “Don’t invite people to church, until you’ve invited them into your home” can be a powerful line to help you remember that it’s not about church attendance- but about your investment in their lives.
The gospel travels best over bridges of relationship ❤ I encourage you to pray that THIS WEEK God puts someone in your life and on your heart to continue building a relationship with and invite them to church. Let me know how it goes 🙂