When was the last time you invited someone to your church? Who was the last person you invited to join you for worship, at your church?
We’re blessed to live in a community where there are many exceptional churches, made up of exceptional people, and led by exceptional pastors and staffs. There are churches of various sizes and denominations. The churches of our community offer a wide variety of music and worship styles. I know many of the pastors and I think they’re great people. As far as I know, there’s no required “dress code” in our community’s churches. And because I’m blessed to know many people who regularly attend the churches of our community, I’m pretty confident that guests are made to feel welcome in every church.
But let’s be honest: every Sunday, there are people in our community who don’t attend any church. They’re good people. They’re friendly people. They’re people and families whom we genuinely love and love to be around. We work with them. We sit with them at Clinton, Shirley, and Southside athletic events. We see them at Walmart, Cash Saver, and Dollar General. Our kids and grandkids are friends with their kids and grandkids. Could it be that the reason they’re not “in” church on Sundays is because you and I haven’t invited them?
I don’t want to bore you with statistics but I think these numbers are important for us to know. Several studies show that across our nation, less than 20% of our population attend church on any given Sunday. That means that a staggering 80% of Americans find other things to do on Sundays. Research also reveals that 82% of people who do not attend church are at least, “somewhat likely” to attend church if someone were to invite them. But lastly (and tragically), studies also reveal that only 2% of people who regularly attend church invite even one person to church, in any given year. Seven out of ten Americans say no one has ever invited them to attend a church!
I firmly believe that a personal relationship with Christ is the only way to experience eternity in Heaven, when one dies. I also firmly believe that the only way to experience the kind of life Jesus promised for now, a “rich and satisfying life,” is to have a personal relationship with Christ. But I also firmly believe that the church, with all its faults and imperfections, is important and beneficial for individuals, married couples and families, and communities. But for most people to experience that benefit of a church, they have to be invited to attend.
So, why should you and I invite someone to join us for church, this Sunday? First, let’s invite them because we want the very best for them. We have friends, teammates, co-workers, family members, and neighbors, who are desperately searching for a sense of fulfillment in life, significance, belonging, acceptance, self-worth, and lasting peace and satisfaction. And if we’re bold enough to invite them to church, they can hear about the One, Jesus, who can give them what they long for.
Secondly, let’s invite them because we genuinely care about them. We don’t want to offend others and we don’t want to give the impression that we think they, “need” church, any more than we do. But we want them to know that we genuinely care about them. Because we genuinely care about them, we want them to experience the help and encouragement that our Savior and our church family and a time of worship, offers.
And lastly, let’s invite them because God genuinely loves them. God loves everyone. God never sees a “lost cause.” God never gives up on a person. And if God feels that way about every person, we, as a church should too. We, the people of God, a church family, have the great privilege of modeling God’s love for a person, if we’ll invite them to join us at our church.
So, Sunday’s only a few days away. There are people in our community who are just waiting for someone to invite them to church. Who are you going to invite?
Faron Rogers is the Senior Pastor of Clinton’s First Baptist Church