#4: Expecting Someone or Something Else to Share Your Faith
If you don’t invite your friends enter a growing relationship with Jesus, who will? Almost every follower of Jesus I’ve met wants their church to grow and people to go to heaven, but most of them don’t live that way. There is an expectation that the church had better grow, but a minority take personal responsibility for being a part of the solution by inviting their friends and family.
Increasingly, we seem to count on a church’s marketing to "sell" Jesus for us. Billboards, radio ads, flyers, web marketing are all supposed to "drive" people to the church. In my former ministry, we grew rapidly and at the same time became "famous" (in such a tiny way) for our direct mail flyers. But it bothered me that most of the people came because they saw our flyers or someone who didn’t go to our church told them to come to our church.
When a church loses a bit of a growth curve or stagnates, members blame everyone but themselves. Hear me — as a leader, I take full responsibility when we hit a tough spot, but imagine what would happen if we all shared that responsibility and took action by telling the world about Jesus. Imagine in eternity when our friends find out that we sat on forgiveness, hope, healing, mercy and grace and kept our mouths shut. (Friends don’t let friends go to hell.)
At Connexus, we’ve scaled back our public marketing. Some of that is intentional. In the Bible, when people met Jesus, they left him only to run and tell their friends what this incredible man had done for them. We call that dynamic investing and inviting. Invest in real relationships with people who don’t go to church. Hang out with them. Pray for them. Develop great friendships. And then invite them with you into a relevant environment (like Sundays or community groups) where they can meet Jesus.
The numer one reason people don’t go to church? No one invited them. A recent poll on hypocrisy revealed that while Americans (sorry, no Canadian data) generally dislike Christians, 78% of people who don’t go to church would have a conversation about faith with a Christian if the Christian was willing. God’s mercy is bigger than we realize.
What keeps you from inviting your friends?