While many United Methodists see Evangelism as a four letter word, I think it is one of the most important aspects of being a faithful follower of Christ. But there’s a lot of confusion as to what it actually means.
To be a willing participant in evangelism does not mean standing on a street corner yelling at passing cars or beating people over their heads with the Bible. Those people are crazy.
Evangelism is the intentional, purposeful process of helping others step out of the darkness into God’s light. It begins by inviting them to church. And that’s the problem.
Research on inviting others to worship is startling and sad. According to recent research reported in the book, Get Their Name, the “average United Methodist member invites someone to come to worship once every thirty-eight years.” This got me thinking.
The last time I invited someone to church was last week. But he told me he was an active member in a Cowboy church.
There was no risk on my part in making the invitation because he already knew who I was and that church that I served. I am pretty sure he knew an invitation was coming.
It will be different when you invite someone to church. First, you don’t walk around in a shirt with a cross and flame. Second, because people don’t know you are a pastor, an invitation to come to church comes with a much higher chance of ridicule and rejection. But is that any reason not to ask?
Let me provide you an easy template for inviting someone to church. It will meet all the criteria to let them know you care and want to be in relationship with them. Invite them to come to church on a specific Sunday, sitting with you in the worship service and then going to eat lunch afterwards.
The Bible tells us that there were some friends who were so determined to get a man to Jesus, they literally tore a hole in the roof of a house and lowered him down. It was the only way they could do it. And they also knew it was the only way their friend would be made whole. (Mark 2:3-12)
In order for a person to be whole, they must know Jesus. And while God is not asking us to tear a roof off a house, God does expect us to do whatever it takes to bring others to Jesus. That means we invite.
So if you are hesitant or shy, set your angst aside and invite someone to church. There will be times when you are rejected but there will also be times when your invitation is accepted. And when they say yes, I am certain God smiles.
Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, please use me to bring others into your house. I am ill-equipped to make a difference but I know you only ask that I try and you will do the heavy lifting. For this I give you my thanks and praises. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Remember, this is the Church, there is no mercy here. We are called to do whatever it takes to get others into God’s house. So go get em.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.