“Hope is a wonderful emotion but a lousy strategy. We can’t simply hope people will show up to church, hope they’ll find Christ, or hope their life will be forever changed by his amazing grace. Some people might think that it’s the church’s responsibility to reach people, but that makes no sense, because, remember, you are the church. Those are all the wrong mind-sets. The right mind-set comes down to this: God has a brilliant strategy to reach your city, and you are it. The strategy isn’t a program or a church building, and it sure isn’t your pastor’s sole responsibility. Jesus cares about the people in your circle of influence, and he is looking for you to reach them. His brilliant strategy is a partnership with you and me. Maybe it’s time we stop and ask ourselves, ‘When was the last time I brought someone to church?’ This Sunday when you go to church, look around: How many people are there because of your efforts to reach them? – Excerpt from Quit Church, by Chris Sonksen
At Northstar we don’t have to invite the lost, unchurched, or de-churched to join us at church, we get to. There are obstacles we need to overcome such as : “I don’t have all the answers.” “It could risk our relationship.” “They won’t be able to relate and will feel out of place.”
As is so often the case, we can learn from the apostle Paul. In Acts 17:16, Paul is in Athens. He was so disturbed by the widespread idolatry that he goes to the synagogue to talk with them. Then day after day he went to the synagogue and market place and reasoned with anyone and everyone he could. People thought he was just a crazy babbler, but he kept at it. Eventually, he made such an impression that he was invited to come and share the gospel.
Paul didn’t have to drag people out of their comfort zones, he met people where they were. And he did not give up easily, because he understood the value of each life to God. Jesus did the same, and he continues to meet and love people where they are. Most of Jesus’ work was not done inside the walls of the synagogue, but in the streets, the marketplaces, and homes of others.
Let’s make it a point to love people where they are. Let’s resolve to build relationships with our friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. And then to use those relationships to invite them to church and to talk about spiritual things. Every effort will not be a success. But it is so worth the effort.
Imagine the day when a friend, or relative, or coworker, or neighbor is worshiping God with their hands in the air as they stand next to you. Can you see their face as they worship the One who saved them, gave them peace, joy, purpose and new life? That picture can be a reality, but it starts with a relationship and an invitation.
- Have you shared your story on how God has changed your life?
- What are some of the obstacles to inviting people to church? How can you overcome those obstacles?