Summary: Adapted from material from Outreach, I preached this sermon the week before Back to Church Sunday to encourage members to invite their friends, relative, associates and neighbor to church.
Back To Church Sunday: Invite Someone!
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church
How many people do you know who “used to go” to church, but just don’t anymore? If you are like most folks, you probably know quite a few. Today there are 320 million people in America and as many as 80% of them identify themselves as Christians, yet only 20% actually attend church from week to week. Clearly, most people who don’t attend church did attend at one time. Many of these people might be willing to try church again, given the right opportunity.
National Back to Church Sunday is designed to be that opportunity—a special service dedicated to people who do not regularly attend church, a time when those who have left the church are encouraged to return and give it another try.
According to a couple studies (one by LifeWay research and one by Barna Research), 82% of unchurched say they would be at least somewhat likely to attend if invited and 25% say that they would be very likely to attend church if a friend would just take the time or make the effort to invite them! Think about that… that’s 1 in 4 of your friends who would be willing to come to church if you, not some stranger, invited them to go with you.
What an opportunity! The sad truth, though, is that only 2% of church members invite an unchurched person each year. I mean, what are we thinking!?
Do we not realize how powerful a simple invitation can be?
A couple weeks ago, while Ashley was at the Women of Faith conference, I had to take all the kids with me to a meeting at the church. Yeshua was hesitant, because he didn’t think there would be any other kids there, but there were. They played together and later that day, Ryan called and said that Aiden wanted to invite Yeshua over to the house to play. Yeshua exploded with excitement. He shouted, “Aiden wants to play with me!?”
That’s the power of a simple invitation.
Jesus knew the power of an invitation.
One day Jesus was out walking near the Jordan River and John the Baptist saw him coming in the distance. So John stood up, nudged his two followers, and point to Jesus saying, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35 NIV). So the two disciples got up and started chasing after Jesus. When they finally caught up to him, they asked him where he was going.
Then Jesus said, “Come along and see for yourself” (John 1:39 MSG). That simple invitation changed their lives forever; they would never be the same. When you invite someone to church, or to a small group meeting, or an outreach event, or even over to your house for dinner—especially if this is someone who doesn’t know Jesus—it has the power to do the same thing; to change a person’s life forever.
In two weeks I’m going to begin preaching a series of messages building up to our Becoming a Contagious Christian seminar. I really hope that everyone here signs up for that weekend seminar, because this course is intended to help you learn how to share your faith effectively and comfortably with people that you interact with everyday. I’m going to give a little preview of what to expect, because the course identifies several different styles or methods of outreach, one of which is very simply the Invitational Style.