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Invite someone to church?
May 7, 2012
Rev. Bill Hillyer, Saving Grace Lutheran Church, Delano

When was the last time you invited someone to go to church with you?

Over the last few years, Christians have been much aligned on television shows and in the media. They are constantly accused of being bigoted, uncaring and hateful. The media tries to tell people that religion is personal and must be kept to oneself.

As a result, many Christians no longer talk about their faith to their friends and co-workers. They think no one wants to hear about how much they enjoy their church family, church activities, or their relationship with the Savior.

Another result of all this misinformation campaign is that it has caused many church-going Christians to mistakenly assume that their non church-going friends and neighbors do not want to go to church, and could care less about anything spiritual. But in a study by the Rainer Group, that covered the United States and Canada a few years ago, researchers found that this is just not the case.

The study was entitled, “Ten Surprises About the Unchurched.” Here are the first five of the surprises researchers discovered about your unchurched neighbor.

Surprise number one: Most of the unchurched prefer to attend church on Sunday morning if they were to attend. That means your neighbor who mows the lawn on Sunday morning might prefer to be at church with you if only he were invited.

Surprise number two: Most of the unchurched not only feel guilty about not attending church, they would prefer to go to church with you on a Sunday morning. Many of the unchurched want to take their children to church, but they are afraid to because they are not sure they will fit in with the local church.

The study found that church members need to go out of their way to help visitors feel welcome and needed in church. This means showing them around the church (classrooms, bathrooms, coffee location) and helping them to follow and understand the service style.

Surprise number three: Ninety-six percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if they are asked. This means that of the 160 million people in the US who do not attend church, over 153 million would go to church if Christians simply asked them. Unfortunately, only about 21 percent of churchgoers invite a friend or neighbor to church each year.

Surprise number four: Very few of the unchurched had someone share with them how to become a Christian. And Christians have not been particularly influential in their lives.

Your co-workers and neighbors know that you are a Christian, and they are looking to you to share with them and explain why Jesus Christ is so important to you. Don’t complain about their lifestyle if you’ve never shared about yours!

Surprise number 5: Most of the unchurched have a positive view of pastors, ministers, and the church. Only a few said ministers are hypocritical, only after money, always drive nice cars, or have a condescending view of others. Again, this just proves that what the media has been saying about Christians and their leaders is just not true for the majority of people in this country.

Believe it or not, those around you really would like to know more about Jesus and about the church you attend. Why not invite them? Mother’s Day is coming up and that is a great time to invite a family to church.

When is the last time you offered to pick someone up or meet them and show them around the church? In Matthew 28, Jesus urged us to go and tell others about Him. He has given us all the tools we need through our baptism and reading the Word.

The Holy Spirit is anxiously waiting to work through you to bring a new person to Christ. Summer is a great time of year to invite that person that God has laid on your heart! So, what are you waiting for? Go and invite them to church!