Have you ever been invited to a church by a friend, an acquaintance, a neighbor, or a co-worker? If so, did you go? What did their approach look like? Did they invite you in person, over social media, or some other approach? What choice of words did they use? Was it formal or informal? Did it make you comfortable enough to attend?
I was a freshman in high school when my best friend, Candice, invited me to her church. In 1998, the church had long wooden pews, burgundy hymnals, gold plated offering plates, bibles came in two colors: black or blue. There was precious Betty, who played the piano, and who could forget old man ‘Brother Clyde’ in his gray polyester suit who greeted everyone with a knuckle breaking handshake as they walked in! While it wasn’t a church I would normally pick for myself, I attended because my best friend invited me. I went because she was there. Each week, she would ask me at school what I thought about the sermon from Sunday. She would ask me to sing in the choir with her (which I did – she knew good and well I couldn’t carry a tune). She kept me actively involved and accountable every week. We had a solid friendship that I respected and I loved hanging out with her at church.
While there are plenty of ways to invite crowds to church (car washes, fundraisers, volunteering, etc.), this isn’t about inviting the masses. This is about connecting with someone you already hold a relationship with. It could be your cousin, your neighbor, your co-worker, even an acquaintance. If you don’t hold a valuable relationship with these people then maybe that’s a great place to start. For all you Field of Dreams (1989) fans, “If you build it, they will come”. Now, don’t be awkward about it, but keep in mind what may interest them about the church. If they have kids, brag about the Canvas Kids. If they love social media, brag about The City app. If they have a busy schedule, brag about our church going to two services soon. Some people love to research things out for themselves. Text them the church’s website and tell them to check it out. People will go where they are invited by those they know. People will go where they are loved. Here is your Canvas Challenge – ask God to reveal those to reach out to. Someone who trusts and respects you will surprise you when they show up because only YOU invited them. Will you accept the challenge?? Who are you going to reach out to this week??
“Only 2% of church members invite an unchurched person to church – 98% of church goers never extend an invitation in a given year.” – Dr. Thom River, The Unchurched Next Door
“82% of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited.” – Dr. Thom River, The Unchurched Next Door
“Younger adults are even more influenced by the power of the invitation. Approximately 60% of those 18-35 would consider returning to church if someone they knew asked them to come back.” – LifeWay Research