Last Sunday, I finished a sermon series on how we use our mouths for the glory of God. My final message was that we need to be telling other people about Jesus and inviting them into a relationship with him. This can happen directly as we teach and preach personally, or it can happen indirectly as we ask people to Church where someone else can explain the gospel.
Upon reflection after the sermon, I thought there was more I should have said at this point. I believe most people are waiting for an invitation to attend Church. Every survey that I read says that people are willing attend but only if they are invited.
At first, this sounds unbelievable, but there is a truth that we must not miss. As our culture becomes less and less Christian in its foundation, the less people know about Church. Often, we assume they know that our doors are open and everyone is welcome, and that is merely enough. The truth is that people who have no Christian background have no idea that they could come to Church at any time they desire. Additionally, they want to know someone who already attends before they would venture a visit.
I picture it like this, many years ago I was a part of a civic group called Sertoma (short for Service to Mankind). A man in our Church invited me, and I said I would be there if he were going to be in attendance too. I showed up a couple minutes late, and he was waiting for me out in front of our meeting room. He showed me in and introduced me, and it immediately felt like home. I joined the group and attended almost every week for the next seven years. It all started with an invitation because I knew nothing about Sertoma.
What was interesting about the group was that we were open to anyone. We ran an ad in the paper. We put a sign out in front of our meeting room. Literally any person under the sun could come, and they would have been welcomed with open arms, but no one went without a special invitation. Like me, we had no idea what went on inside those meetings, and we wanted a friendly face to help guide us.
The same is true for Church in today’s culture. People are interested in what we do but have no idea that they can attend on their own. Even if they do, they are still waiting for someone they know to make a special request to join them.
Right now, we are a few days away from Sunday. At my Church I am starting a new sermon series and beginning a fall kickoff. I am not the only one, unofficially this Sunday and next are the two days most people go back to Church after a long summer. All Churches start new programs, sermon series, and other exciting things. They want people to come, at least I know I do as a Church leader. Ironically, people who do not attend Church are interested in coming also. The only thing missing is an invitation from you.