A Different Calling In A Dark World
It’s the greatest moment in the history of mankind. The moment when death was defeated and we found victory through love. It’s a moment that is worthy of celebration. It will be an exciting time at Northstar as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.
Bottom Line: You are called to bring love and light out of selfishness and darkness.
Something To Talk About:
Easter is one of the most exciting times of year for Northstar and churches all cross the world. There is something about the resurrection of Christ, the upbeat and powerful music, the gospel being clearly preached, and the beauty of spring that makes Easter Sunday one of the biggest Sundays of our year. On Easter Sunday, many people you know might be thinking about going to church even if they don’t routinely attend. What they need is an invitation.
- Who before do: Easter is the perfect time to invite someone to church. The question is who should we invitee and how do we go about doing it. Is it that neighbor you casually say hi to when checking the mail? Or is it your brother who hasn’t been to a service in years? Maybe it’s someone you haven’t seen for a while, but they’ve been on your mind. Whoever it is, God wants you to be a light and will be delighted you are taking an interest in others. Think of three or more people. Write down their names. Pray for them, then reach out with some type of invitation to church. Even if the person you invite does not accept your invitation, the gesture alone could have a huge impact on them. That neighbor might feel less lonely, your brother might realize you haven’t given up on him, or that friend will be assured of your love and friendship. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “…you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,[a] a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
- Invite don’t fight: There is a right and wrong way to invite people to Easter or any other service at Northstar. People in our surrounding communities are constantly making decisions regarding how they spend their time. For some of them, choosing to attend a church service isn’t really on their radar for most of the year, if at all. If they’re ever going to consider walking through our church doors on Sunday morning though, somebody will need to invite them. But they do not want to be harassed, or argued with even if we have the best of intentions. Don’t try to manipulate them – you are inviting them to church. Tell them that. Most people want you to be authentic. Tell them what time the service is and what it’s like and what they can expect. The invitation should be about a genuine connection and not something staged that comes out of left field. The point is the invitation comes across as thoughtful and something that connects with the other person.
- The church is to be on mission with God. God graciously pursues people. How can we pursue people this Easter?
- Those far from the heart of God are waiting for an invitation. Agree or disagree and why?
- Do you think there is an unspoken social rule that says “keep religion and spiritual thoughts to yourself?” Is this a barrier to asking people to church?
- People are attracted to community and community begins with an invitation. Agree or disagree and why?
- Without Christ the world is in darkness. Do you agree with this statement? Why?
- Read 1 Peter 2:9: The Apostle Peter says that you are God’s special possession. What does that mean to you?
- When Jesus says, “you are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world,” He is effectively saying, “You’re my plan for transforming this place.” How does inviting people to Easter services fit into that plan?
- Is looking silly or foolish a difficult part of being the light? How about inviting people to Easter services?
Take one thing home with you:
Inviting others to anything is a scary proposition. This is especially true for church for a number of reasons. It is helpful to make a genuine connection, be specific, be honest and avoid shading the picture too bleakly or too rosy. Ultimately, we are inviting others to experience a transforming relationship with God.
It is important to invite with expectant hope. Do not invite with a defeatist attitude. There are times when we so underplay the invitation it comes across as if we really do not want the other person to come. For instance, you call up the person and say, “Easter services are on Sunday. I’m not sure it will be much fun for you, but you might want to come if you have absolutely nothing else to do.” That is not very compelling. But it’s equally important not to go to the opposite extreme and be overly effusive. The goal is an invitation that leaves space for others to say yes without painting an overly negative or rosy picture.