Easter is approaching, the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A day we all put on our best clothes and worship together to remember the amazing sacrifice Christ gave to us and how He conquered sin and death so we could do the same. It’s also a day that many people who don’t normally celebrate with us are looking for a place to celebrate.
In my research for this blog I found that anywhere from 47-96% of people are willing to come to church if they are invited. Yes, that’s a huge discrepancy, but it tells me two things. One, we don’t know how many people are willing probably because they are invited in so many different situations. Two, the worst numbers are still half of people want to be invited to church. And on Easter, many more people are looking for a place to worship than many other Sundays. So please, be inviting people to church on Easter! But to help with that, here are some things I’ve learned over the years:
Give an invitation, not information
This is something I found happened a lot with our students. If they wanted someone to come to our ministry they would say something like, “We meet Sunday nights at 6, there’s a free meal, it’s fun, etc.” Do you see the one thing missing? “Would you like to come with me?” We do a great job of relaying information about church but we don’t invite them. If I were to say “Lorie and I are having dinner at Olive Garden Friday night, we love the food there” do you automatically think you’re invited? Probably not, and I’m guessing many people feel the same way when you talk about how much you love your church and they love you but you never actually speak an invitation.
Go with them
The numbers of people willing to go to church are all over the place, but they all go way up if someone personally invites them and goes with them. How awkward would it be to be invited to a football game and then never see the person who invited you? Invite someone to church, meet them and have them sit with you. And Easter’s crazy busy, don’t expect them to find you. Meet them at the door at a specific time (and realize they may be late trying to find the church then finding a parking spot).
Live like you want people to come to church with you
If you were invited to a party and it didn’t feel like I actually wanted you there, like it was a pity invite or something I had to do, would you go? The reality is an invitation to church starts long before you actually invite someone. If we are noticeably different, we love more, we care more, we actually reflect Christ in our lives, the groundwork will have been laid. People will want to know why we’re different and how to be a part. And when you’re here on Easter, be happy to see people whether they came with you or not! Let’s be the most welcoming, friendliest group of people on Easter morning. We can all be a part of helping people come to church.
A long time ago I read a revelation a pastor had with his praying. He discovered he was incredibly vague. A lot of “God bless ____” or “God make things better.” How? Who? What do we really want? Let’s trying praying specifically. “God, please let me be a shining light for you to _____.” “Jesus, give me the words to invite _____ to church Sunday.” Ask God exactly where we would like His help in this.
In the gospels there are 40 stories of Jesus healing people. Of those 40 stories, 34 of the people were brought to Jesus by someone else, a friend or acquaintance. Even when Jesus was walking here on earth people didn’t just “show up”, they were invited by people like you and me. We should be doing the same. And this Easter we have something to help, there will be stations around the church where people can take family pictures in their Easter best. An added reason people may join us at church on Easter. But the best reason of all is we will be hearing about the greatest display of love in all of human history, Christ’s love for us and His victory over the grave.
Won’t you invite someone to join us?