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9 Reasons We Don't Invite Our Friends to Church

As I have traveled the world, I have yet to find an invitational church.

So let me ask you the following question with two possible answers, (you have to choose between the two answers): Is your congregation welcoming or inviting? As I have asked this question right around the world to pastors, you can imagine which answer is chosen: welcoming! But how welcoming can we be if we are not inviting?

We are welcoming as long as people can get themselves across the threshold of the church building, but we don’t take our welcome out in the form of invitation.

Something is going wrong at the threshold of our church buildings. I became fascinated as to why congregational members are not inviting. In fact, I went on to find out that up to 95 percent of most congregational members are not going to be doing any inviting.

My journey has now taken in 12 countries across five continents, multiple denominations and thousands of churches, and I became a one-question researcher, “Why are we not inviting our friends to take a closer look at Christ and his church?”

Here are some of the answers I receive regularly and some of my thoughts as I hear them. Look below the surface and you will find something God anticipated.

1. “We have no non-church going friends.”

Now either this is true or it is not true. Let’s for one moment say that this is true, that would lead the pastor to conclude that we are a church that has ghettoised itself.

Let’s say it is not true, then of course we are lying to ourselves! It is either one or the other and God graciously opens up a teaching path.

2. “It’s the pastor’s job!”

I have heard some congregational members go on to say, “In fact, what on earth are we paying them for if they are not into mission?” I have heard of church management meetings where fingers are pointed very firmly in the direction of the pastor.

We must remember, however, that when we start pointing the finger, three fingers are pointed back straight at us. Jesus invited the 72 into mission. He invited us all into mission.

Now mission is a large concept, into which many books have been written. However, at the center of most mission is invitation. We can all invite, and therefore it is not just the church leader’s job.

3. “My friend said no to me last year.”

Why do we give up so easily? And God could not have done something in their lives in the past period of time?

I have heard countless stories from Christians who had to be asked several times before they accepted an invitation. We need to learn from the persistence seen in the story of the lost coin or the lost sheep.

4. “What if it damages my friendship?”

A fear of spoiling a good relationship is another reason. We don’t ask because we fear the damage it would cause, that would be irreparable.

But of course, we are only talking about our relationship with our human friend rather than God!

5. “Our services and people are unpredictable.”

A need to know who is preaching, whether the right hymns or worship songs will be sung, and whether everyone will behave. We are not going to invite unless everything is perfect that day.

I am not sure how perfectionism got into the church.

6. “I fear what the congregation will think of my friend; they are not our type of people.”

What if it damages my relationship with those of my friends in church when they see the type of person with whom I associate?

I seem to remember that Jesus spent time with tax collectors and those seen as the outcasts of society.

7. “I don’t want to be seen as strange.”

I don’t want to be seen as a Bible-basher or, worse, one of those fundamentalists. We want to be thought of as a sane person.

At times in the Christian life, we will be rejected and seen as odd!

8. “I wouldn’t know what to say and they might ask something about my faith.”

How do you go about asking someone to church, and what if they ask me a question that I am unable to answer like, “Explain the Trinity.” We start to imagine all the difficult questions that would follow our stumbling performance in inviting someone to church, and then conclude that it is not worth the effort.

Of course, they might not ask a difficult question. They might say yea, but we imagine the worst outcome.

9. Below the surface of these answers lies the fear of rejection.

I have come to the conclusion that this is causing the majority of the issues in Christianity today and God anticipated the problem by saying:

“Don’t be afraid for I am with you.”

Yet fear is lurking amongst us all, hiding away and causing us to reject God’s prompting to invite and to extend the Kingdom of God. I believe God will use invitation to disciple a whole congregation through it.

God enables fear to be brought to the surface so we can attack it with faith that Emmanuel our God is with us.
Via: Churchleaders


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