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.