A few days ago, I posted on this site that Northstar is no longer going to emphasize “welcoming.” Instead, we are going to emphasize “inviting.” This is a move from passivity to activity, and must be done in keeping with God’s missional activity in our neighborhoods. I want to mention however, that we still want to be a welcoming church as well.
Inviting people to church is not always easy. That’s because change is hard. Most of us are dragged kicking and screaming into change and accept change only when it is forced upon us. It is also difficult because we can’t control what will happen. So it is not surprising that we generally resist stepping way outside our comfort zone and established pattern of behavior to invite a friend to come to worship. The possible outcomes don’t always seem promising: the person will laugh us out of the room, they will view us as narrow minded and out-of-date, they will assume we are judgmental and, or they might actually come.
If people are hesitant to invite people, then most likely they won’t do it, even if asked very nicely. But maybe we can change all that. And that change means we have to change our thinking on the subject.
There is the old adage that you eat an elephant one bite at a time. The same strategy holds true for inviting. If you are hesitant to just walk up and ask a friend or relative to church, try breaking it down into bite-size chunks. Let me explain what I mean by that.
You are having a conversation with a friend or relative. Look for opportunities to mention your church in the conversation. “I can’t go shopping on Sunday because I am going to church. I really enjoy going to Northstar.” Or, “I missed that program this week because I attended our amazing Easter services at church.” Or maybe the conversation turns to current events or issues. “My church is struggling with that very issue.” Or simply look for opportunities to tell people about what the church does well. “The music at Northstar is incredible.” Or “the message has a lot of practical application to my life.” And, of course, there are the church outreach programs. “It was a tiring day, but we fed over 8,000 people at the Northstar Feed The 5,000 program.”
When people are watching for natural opportunities to do these quick, relatively small steps toward invitation, it’s amazing how many opportunities there suddenly are to take them.