For Christians, the two biggest days of the year are Christmas and Easter. On these days, we gather to celebrate that Christ is born and Christ is risen! These holidays serve as the pillars of our faith, reminding us again and again that God’s love has come down for all people and that nothing, not even death, can separate us from it.
Because of the importance of these dates, we naturally use them as opportunities to invite friends and family to join us in worship. Regardless of who you are, we all know people we are searching after truth, purpose, understanding. We all know people who aren’t sure what they believe. And what better way to expose them to “the way, the truth, and the life” than by inviting them to join you on Easter Sunday.
I know what you’re thinking. Does an invitation make a difference anymore? Is something so simple as that still effective? The results might surprise you.
A few years ago, LifeWay Research conducted a survey of 15,000 adults for the North American Mission Board to determine which of 13 approached is the best-received when a church wants to be heard. The research showed that the best-received means of seeing new people walk into one’s church is, well, a personal invitation.
- 67% of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be very or somewhat effective in getting them to visit a church.
- 63% of Americans say a personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would be very or somewhat effective in getting them to visit a church.
- 63% of Americans are very or somewhat willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a family member.
- 56% of Americans are very or somewhat willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a friend or neighbor.
There’s potential in your personal relationships. The question is whether you’ll un-tap that potential by extending an invitation to someone you know. I hope you will. But if you’re like many of us and would like to, but don’t know how, I’d like to share some best practices to consider before you stick yourself out there and invite someone to join you in worship on Easter.
First, pray for the person you have in mind before extending the actual invitation.
Second, extend a clear and direct invitation, letting them know important details like where the church is, what time worship starts, what to wear, whether lunch is involved, etc.
Third, go out of your way to make sure that they actually make it to church. If need be, make yourself available to pick them up, meet them in the parking lot, etc.
Fourth, don’t make things weird if your friend or family member doesn’t accept your invitation. Don’t ruin a relationship over their reluctance to join you in worship. Instead, pray for how God might continue to use you to move your friend or family member closer to His love.
Sometimes, all it takes to change someone’s life is a simple invitation. Are you ready and willing to extend such an invitation today? I hope you are, and I’m praying that you do!
- Rev. Tyler Ward