Have you seen these indoor trampoline places? They have cool names like; “Cloud 9” or “SkyMax”. I for one had heard of them and driven past them. But I never thought about going into one. I’ve jumped on a trampoline before, in fact, we have one for our kids that I’ve spent plenty of time on. In other words, been there and done that. I totally know what to expect already.
But thanks to an invitation, my wife, kids and I joined another family and went to one. And man, am I glad I did. I had an amazing experience. We all laughed together, tried new things, gained a bit of confidence here and there and overall had a great hour.
Now, about church….I believe there is more than an “overall great hour” that takes place. After all, the subject of where someone spends eternity and if they live their lives to the fullness God has planned for them is no “great” matter….it’s all that matters.
But like me and the trampoline place or you with your favorite pizza place, gym, mechanic, coffee shop, or some other place you now radically enjoy going to….an invitation is normally what’s required to get us through the door the first time. Or, to get us through the door to experience something on our “been there and done that” list.
The following list of seven ideas to use to invite people to church is a resource designed to equip you to connect others with God. I would love to hear your thoughts and how using one of these turns out.
- “Have you heard of XYZ Church?” That’s right; it’s that simple. Start by just asking someone if they have heard of your church. The key here is to ask the question in a natural method, meaning; if you typically text random questions to the person, send this in a text. If you ask questions while on the golf course, watching the kids play, or over coffee….just ask.
- “I want to check out XYZ Church and don’t want to go alone, would you go with me?” Never visit a new church alone.
- “Invite Cards” If your church provides a resource like an invite card (paper or virtual); use it.
- “Meet and Greet” Far too many of us live in neighborhoods where we don’t know our neighbors. And, an invite to a church built on a relationship has a much higher chance to succeed. So, have an hour and a half meet and greet at your house. Keep it simple, just serve some cookies and coffee. Choose a time that works for you, print off some invitations and walk around your neighborhood knocking on doors and invite people to your house to “meet and greet” you and the others in the community. Make sure you have the next step for everyone who comes. For us, we’ve tried a pizza potluck for about three weeks later. We invite everyone to come back and bring just one of their favorite pizzas. Statistically, there are a few Sunday’s people are way more likely to accept your invite to church; Easter and Christmas being the two biggest. However, you should invest into the relationship to lead up to the invite to church. Put the time in well before Christmas and Easter to have that relationship built to facilitate the invite.
- “Have a Matthew Party.” Matthew (the one from the New Testament” would gather his Christian friends and nonChristian friends together for parties. So, are you in a small group? Have a cookout some evening with no “curriculum” planned. Just have a good old fashioned barbecue and hang out time and have everyone in your group invite one person or family. The thing is, they have to invite someone who doesn’t go to church…or is bored in church. Bored Christians should break our hearts just as much as nonChristians….both groups are far from God. Be a group of Christians that people would want to hang out around. Don’t gossip, don’t be hypocrites, don’t be negative and don’t suddenly be a theologian. Just hang out and model grace, mercy and love.
- “I need someone to go along and help me out for a couple of hours on a project at the homeless shelter, would you come along?” They should know that you are a Christian by your love. Let your compassion and serving be attractive to those not in church. If you aren’t already volunteering somewhere, find a place. Look for a homeless shelter, a service team that provides services for shut-ins, nursing home visits, whatever. Find an opportunity that lends itself to bringing someone along to help…not just watch you. Just try to connect the experience while there or shortly after back to your relationship with Christ. “I never use to do things like this, but then one day I realized that Jesus showed me more mercy by his sacrifice for me, so the least I can do is help so and so.”
- “Hey pastor, can I plan a community event?” Get involved in a big way. Ask to have a meeting with your pastor or a staff person with responsibilities for community outreach and ask if you can plan a community picnic where people of the church can’t attend without bringing someone who doesn’t attend the church. I’ve seen far too many church picnics that are all about people in the church getting to know individuals in the church….I don’t have a problem with these as long as there is also an effort to create environments for people not in the church to connect with the church. And, while Sunday morning should be the primary environment for this….it’s simply too big of a step for a lot of people anymore.
Here’s an eighth idea that is a bonus tip. I almost didn’t add this, because it should go without saying. But after reading through the list above again, I decided that every one of those seven ideas hinged on the same thing…
- “Pray First” Begin praying now that God would give you a genuine heart for people far from him. That he would start to soften their hearts to be open to the invitation. That he would protect you from the temptation of pride that presents itself when Christians “do a good deed”. Pray that God would help you see people like he does, not merely as a project but as someone worthy of a real and genuine relationship with you and with God. After all, once they accept your invite to church and then accept Jesus’ invite to follow him…they will instantly be your brother or sister in the family of God.
So what idea do you?
Which idea are you going to use?
What’s a story of the power that was unleashed all because of a single invite?