On Valentine’s Day we had 27 children attend a parent’s night out program at our church. That figure is remarkable when you consider a couple of facts. We’re a modest sized church with 4 or 5 children present on Sunday mornings and maybe 80-90 people in attendance on an average Sunday. The vast majority of these children weren’t from our church. So 27 is a rather huge number.
Why so many kids? Did we pay for a bunch of ads? No. Did we put out banners and flyers? No. The answer—Ever child who came except for one was personally invited to attend. One child came because her mom saw it announced on Facebook. Everyone else said ‘yes’ in response to a personal invitation.
So many churches are looking for a magic bullet for evangelism. There looking for that elusive perfect pastor, program or youth director who is going to make their church grow and yet time and time again studies have shown that most people (85% typically), visit a church for the first time because of a personal invitation.
A personal invitation isn’t just powerful because it can get someone through the doors. A personal invitation actually has the power to transform a life. Every invite has the potential for bringing someone into a new beginning. Never have I heard this more powerfully reflected than in a story a friend shared with me recently.
A LIFE CHANGED BY AN INVITATION
I have a friend who is a pastor. His brother called him one day and said, “I watched my daughters first breath and I watched her first breath.” He was calling to let my friend know that his daughter who was in her thirties had died finally after battling cancer for many weeks. His brother wanted my friend to speak at her funeral.
Now you need to understand something. My friend’s brother hadn’t darkened the doorstep of a church except for two times in his life. His wife who was a Christian raised their two daughters as Christians and the only time he had ever attended church was upon their baptisms. The man wasn’t just an unbeliever he actually was verbally belligerent toward and mocking of God.
My friend accepted the invitation to speak at his nieces funeral. He came and met the priest of the church where the service would be held. The priest was extremely gracious and kind. He welcomed the participation of my pastor friend. My friend spoke of his niece’s life and he spoke the Gospel.
His brother afterwards told him, “During the service my heart was growing cold and hard, but then something happened and my heart thawed and opened.” After the service, the priest approached my friend’s brother. Unaware of his experience the priest extended his hand and said, “I would be honored if you would come visit my church some time.” The brother decided he would. He has been to worship now several times. He is now calling my friend regularly eager to learn about the faith he mocked. He will be getting baptized soon. Why? Because the Holy Spirit moved in his life and someone extended to him a personal invitation.
A GOD WHO LOVES TO INVITE
Our God is a God who loves to invite. The bible is full of invitation stories. There is the parable of the great banquet where a master sent his servant to invite people. Those invited offered many excuses. “I cannot come. I’ve bought field” “I cannot come. I’ve just gotten married.” The master didn’t give up. He sent the servants out again and spread the invitation even wider. Once those R.S.V.P.’s came in he said, “There is still more room. Go get more.” There are also all of the stories where Jesus invited disciples to follow him.
Notice in the parable of the banquet that the master didn’t go and invite people. He sent servants to extend the invitation. That’s you and me. It’s our responsibility to invite people. Why?…Because an invitation can change someone’s life. When have you last invited someone to church or to a bible study or even to a fellowship event with your church family? Whom should you invite?
WHY INVITES ARE SO POWERFUL
Invites are powerful. We love to be invited. It feels good to be invited. We know then that someone cares about us. We feel wanted and loved when we are invited. Not only that, but often times people want to come to something but feel awkward about coming unless they have been invited. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say, “I was just waiting for someone to invite me.”
You could be that person. In doing so, you might also be the vehicle by which God begins to work a miracle in someone’s life. Inviting someone won’t cost you anything and it takes only a moment. Isn’t that worth the risk of may be having your invitation rejected?
Do you have a story about someone inviting you and the difference it made in your life? If so, I would love to hear it. Please comment below. In the mean time, prayerfully consider the person that God may be wanting you to invite into his great family.
The Practical Disciple
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