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Thom S. Rainer has written a book entitled "The Unchurched Next Door". He wants people to understand the unchurched in order to better reach them. The premise is that we do not invite our neighbors for all the wrong reasons. He encourages Christians to make the effort to invite others to church that they might hear the Gospel and be saved. The number one reason unchurched people do not come to church is because they have not been invited. Do not quit inviting people because some refused your invitation.

Before you take this sermon and run with it, let me give you some suggestions. Dr. Rainer lists several tough questions that we should ask ourselves before we go out. This is not to get us to stay home, but rather to get us to prepare.

-- How is your prayer life? We will never be able to reach those who are unchurched unless we are a people of prayer.

-- Whom did you tell about Jesus today? The question is not how do you share, but, did you share your faith. The best way to share your faith is to just do it!

-- How is your family life? Satan's most effective tactic is to attack the Christian in his/her family life. Is your faith evident in and to your family life?

-- Do you need to reconcile with someone? We are called to a ministry of reconciliation. "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation." (2 Cor 5:18 KJV) Jesus said in Matthew 6:13, that we cannot worship until reconciliation is made.

-- Are you committed to your church? It is not "what can the church do for me" but rather "what can I do for my church?" Paul wrote many times thankful for the ministry and people of the churches.

-- Do you love others unconditionally? It is easy to write off people who are not like us. Love the unlovable.

-- Do you have an attitude of gratitude? God was gracious to us. We should be gracious to others and extend mercy.

Will you invite and bring someone to church next Sunday? Most of the un- churched you know are receptive and waiting for you to ask them to come with you. If one does not respond do not quit asking.

"Remember, your circle of fellowship should be larger than your circle of membership" (Randel Trull, DOM, HPBA). Today the circle of the membership is larger than the circle of fellowship. Jim Ellif, writing in the Baptist Press says, "Today it would take 300 people to have 100 attending. In the 1790's it took only 33." In the early 1900's it took 100 to get 300 to attend. The circle of membership exceeds the circle of fellowship. Extend the circle of fellowship and thus the circle of membership in the Kingdom of God. Go and get them.

(From a sermon by Glenn Dunaway, We'll Leave the Light On, 11/25/2010)

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