The art of invitation

What if they say no?
What if they think it’s weird?
Will they still be a friendly neighbour if they don’t like it?
Will someone be weird and put my friend off coming again?

These are just a few of the questions that cross our minds when we think about inviting someone into our church community and they cross our minds because sometimes the answer is… yes, they have said no, yes they have thought something was strange and yes someone might have been weird ( we have a few ).

But and it is a ‘big’ but…. what if they say yes? what if it feels like home? what if it doesn’t seem strange but what they have been searching for without even realising it?

There are more stories of the latter than the first questions written and if you are reading this then you are a living statistic of what does happen when people are invited to come close to Jesus.

However, some things help when it comes to making an invitation.

A good invitation is –

  • Personal. it involves more than a social media re-post or a blanket Facebook message as if you are casting the biggest net possible hooping to catch someone. It involves your relationship, a phone call, and of course the details. People when invited to something know why they are being invited and it is important to say why it could be you know what is being spoken about on a particular Sunday or a social event such as a Ministry of Fun Quiz night or exploring together the questions of life on Alpha. The opportunities are plentiful and not just for Sundays.
  • Safe. When have you been invited without some detail, people need to understand the context. When inviting someone takes the time to explain what to expect you can now show people, share a snapshot of church online or a link to their phone of a story of another person, guide them into safety. Communication is key, the more you describe the less likely you will be misunderstood.
  • Supernatural. Pray before you invite. Ask the Lord to go ahead of your invitation, pray that the things that might cause someone to say no would be removed. How often we forget that for every individual inviting another person Satan unleashes a rage of opposition to prevent that person from coming anywhere near Jesus. But when we pray angels are released, the Holy Spirit is moved and the stumbling blocks are moved out of the way. Prayer unleashed heaven on earth around that person.  
  • The beginning of more invites. Just consider you are dating someone toward salvation, one invitation at a time. You cannot just ask once but often, gently and prayerfully. One of the big hindrances to inviting others is our hidden selfishness of not wanting to commit to a person but the big reason we are here is to help others encounter Jesus.
  • Not just Sunday. The true invitation is into our Monday to Saturday, an invitation to share friendship and life. Sundays are great but it is in the other times, a text, a coffee, or the sharing of a meal that makes the real difference because we are not inviting people to ‘church’ but toward Jesus and the life he has given you.

The bible teaches us to ready to share the good news in all seasons (2 Timothy). What it teaches is in every opportune time or place be ready to make an invitation, an offer for prayer, a coffee, and chat or to church or other space. Be ready to show kindness practically backed up with words of invitation and belonging. 

So why not ask the Lord right now to give you the grace to invite others and then step out and start a conversation with a clear intention of invitation.