Then in John 1:43-51, Jesus called Philip to follow Him. Philip didn’t simply internalize this call. He immediately went to get his friend Nathanael.
Both men, Andrew and Philip, set a great example for us. Let us not simply internalize what we have found in Christ Jesus and in His church. Let’s take that message to our friends, our family, our neighbors, our co-workers. Let’s tell them the same thing Philip told Nathanael. “Come check it out for yourself.”
What a great opportunity we have at the Franklin Church of that right now. On May 17, we are having a very special evangelistic push to invite as many as we possibly can to attend and here the very special sermon–“If You Want to Win Life’s Lottery, You’ve Got to Lean on the Lord.”
You only have a week and a half left. Keep praying and keep inviting.
In just 14 days we are having our huge evangelism push as we try to invite as many people as possible to worship with us and hear a lesson that will help us all learn to lean on the Lord as we face difficult times. The sermon is entitled “If You Want to Win Life’s Lottery, You’ve Got to Lean on the Lord.”
If you’re following our website, on Tuesday you learned that over half of Americans claim they would visit a church if they received a personal invitation. That is part of why this kind of effort is really important.
We’ve really pushed the invitations this week. If you’re like me, you’ve gone through the obvious and are now trying to figure out who else you can invite. I thought it would be a great time for us to consider the obvious and not so obvious folks we might invite.
- a spouse who doesn’t attend
- children who have fallen away
- parents who never obeyed the gospel
- siblings who aren’t Christians or aren’t faithful
- classmates (teenagers you can invite folks too)
- prodigals who have gone out into the world
- bank tellers
- waiters and waitresses
- checkout clerks at Wal-Mart, etc.
- gas station clerks
- baseball/softball/volleyball/soccer team and coaches
- Facebook and MySpace friends
- Cracker Barrel hostesses
- club members (Lion’s, Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.)
- PTA/PTO members
- meat counter lady/guy
- physical therapist
- daycare provider
- UPS or FedEx guy
The fields are white for harvest. Let’s pray the Lord will send forth workers and inviters.
In December, 2008, Lifeway, publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, polled 15,000 people to learn how to affectively reach out to the lost. Their discoveries were quite interesting. The article says:
Over half of Americans say they would visit a church if they receive a personal invitation from a family member, friend or neighbor, a new study shows.
The survey, which LifeWay says may be the largest survey ever conducted on Americans’ receptivity to different methods of church invitations, shows that conversations are the best way to invite someone to hear about Christ.
“The primary lesson North American believers should learn from this research is that many of your unchurched friends are ready for an invitation to conversation,” said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, in the report. “Unbelievers next door still need a simple, personal invitation to talk, to be in community and to church. Clearly, relationships are important and work together with marketing.”
According to the survey, 48 percent of Americans are willing to receive information about a local congregation through an informative ad in the newspaper, 46 percent are willing through an outdoor sign or billboard, and 45 percent are willing through letters mailed to the home.
Other findings show that Americans are most likely to be open to consider matters of faith during the Christmas holiday season (47 percent) and Easter season (38 percent) as well as after a major national crisis such as 9/11 (38 percent).
Also, Americans are most likely to be open to invitations from non-denominational churches. They are least likely to be open to invitations from Mormons.
A third of Americans say they would read a Bible as their likely first response if they wanted more information about God. Only 19 percent say would attend a church service and 10 percent would talk to a Christian friend.
What do we learn from this? We need to quit relying so heavily on paid advertising and do more talking about Jesus and the local congregation. Sure, when we invite folks to check out Jesus at the Franklin Church, some will just say, “No.” But some will appreciate our concern and they just might come.
Who have you thought about inviting? Go ahead and do it. The worst they can say is, “No.” However, they may shock you and show up sometime.
The number one piece of advice I took away from our meeting with Harold Comer was about invitations. Let’s face it. In our day and age, the number one prospect for salvation we run into are those who come check out what we’re doing as a congregation. However, like so many things, folks won’t check us out unless they know they can. That is where invitations come in.
Harold repeatedly referred to Revelation 22:17. “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” I am fully aware John was not speaking directly of inviting people to our assemblies and classes. He was talking about an invitation to drink from the water of life through Jesus Christ. However, one effective way to get to that invitation is to invite folks to hear the Word of Life taught and preached in our classes and assemblies. One effective way to get to that invitation is to invite folks to witness us congregationally worship the God of life in our assemblies.
Harold went through some of the statistics pretty quickly. Maybe you missed them. Obviously, for any one individual these numbers may not be exactly accurate. But, like insurance actuary tables, over the big picture this is how it works. Out of every 20 invitations, 1 person will attend. That person will often bring a friend or family member. That means for every 100 invitations, we should have 10 guests. Out of those 10 guests, 4 will return. Out of those 4, 1 will eventually surrender his/her life to Jesus. That means it takes 100 invitations to find the one real prospect. There’s only one thing for it—we’ve got to be inviting.
Harold encouraged us to write out some invitations. I took that to heart and discovered it is indeed a great practice. It made me think of some very specific kinds of individuals I meet regularly and how I can invite them. Consider two examples.
For a nurse: I really appreciate the way you care for brother/sister _________. It means a lot to me and our church family to have conscientious workers like you caring for our physical needs. If we can ever return the favor and help care for your spiritual needs, please, don’t hesitate to visit us at the Franklin Church of Christ.
For a waiter/waitress: I really appreciate how diligently you’ve served us today. It’s a tough job and you did it very well. If we can ever be of service to you on a spiritual level, please, visit us at the Franklin Church of Christ.
Think of someone to invite this week. Then write out the invitation ahead of time and be prepared the next time you see them.