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A few months ago Chuck Lawless wrote a great article on “Why Church Members Don’t Invite Other’s to Church” (Click to read article). It stirred a great burden in my heart to explore why people are apprehensive to invite friends and family to church. Chuck said, “several years ago, more than one study showed large percentages of unchurched people would consider attending a church if someone simply invited them. The problem is not the attitude of the unchurched; rather, it is often the failure of church members to invite others.” With Labor Day behind us and the fall season moving forward with full steam, it’s that time of the year to start thinking about inviting people back to church. Here are ten ways to invite people to church in the weeks coming up:
- Think/Pray about Who to Invite: We need to get in the habit of thinking and praying about people on a daily basis that we can invite to church. Maybe it’s someone you go to school with, work with, or live beside. If you “do life” with these people Monday through Saturday, why not invite them to participate in the most important part of your week? Unchurched people are “sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36), in need of redemption and a church family. Think about inviting these people to church this Sunday using verbal conversations, text messages, or social media. Be creative!
- Don’t Fear Rejection: While it’s true nobody likes to be turned down, take the risk to invite somebody to church. Chuck Lawless stated that church members told him there were a few times when people said “no,” but few people could tell of times when they were rudely or unkindly rejected. Don’t fear being rejected, just ask!
- Focus on Being a Witness over Worship (Music): A lot of times we are scared to ask people to come to church because we are scared they won’t like the music. We think “it’s too loud,” “it’s too boring,” “we sing it over and over again,” or “nobody knows the songs.” Remember music is just one part of the service and you never know, they may just love that part!
- Focus on Principles in Preaching: We know the pastor or speaker on Sunday doesn’t always hit home runs with every message. While it’s painful to admit, we often think that people might not like our pastor or his preaching. This can tie into the issues of music. However, having someone come to church, a discussion at/over lunch can be a great way to talk about one or two principles we picked up from the message. Sometimes unchurched people need help understanding what was said and how to apply it to their lives. This is where you can help! After inviting someone to church take them out for lunch to discuss the principles in the morning message.
- Focus on People more than Problems: Every church has it’s issues. We know that while us as regular attenders may know all the ins and outs of what’s going on at the church an invited guest isn’t going to see all the issues facing a congregation. If they do see one or two issues this is a great time to ask them how they think that issue can be resolved or even help the local church grow in that weakness. Remember, unconnected people love to get plugged in and help!
- Care more than the Crowd: Some people are terrified about going to church due to all the people. We don’t like being cramped, have to search for a parking space, or wonder around. A big way to help a new person cut through the crowd is to bring them with you or meet them at the door, show them around the church, introduce them to new people, and let them sit with you in service. Never leave a new person unattended. Remember, you were “new” once too. Keep in mind how that felt.
- Embrace the Challenge: Like number one, some church folk never think about inviting others because no one has challenged them to do so. I challenge you right now to invite someone to church this Sunday!
- Embrace Spiritual Conversations: Many people get sweaty palms even thinking about inviting someone to a local service. Remember, people are all searching for something. If we believe the local church is the hope of the world then we must get past the awkward and invite people to participate in the local congregation that is gathering. Don’t forget how many times Jesus tells us to not be afraid!
- Remember it’s our Job: We know you want to let the Holy Spirit work but remember that God wants us to do our part and that involves asking the Holy Spirit to help us ask others,”Would you like to come to church with me this week?”
- Go the Distance: We have people coming to our congregation from so many places. Some are close and some are a drive. Don’t be scared to ask someone to drive the distance you drive to come to church. We will drive hours for a good meal, so why drive to go to a great church?
So we challenge you, invite someone to church this week, and next week, and the weeks after! Think and pray for God to reveal who that is. Embrace that challenge with boldness as a steward of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t give up! Stay after it and know this is not a one time event but a daily discipline we must practice to reach our communities. Remember, some people have to be invited multiple times to come once and even asked again to come back. It persistence that matters as those people in your life will see how much you love and care for them. It’s worth the effort to see people come to know Christ and make Christ known near and far!
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Feel like you’re spinning your wheels?
Not catching any traction in leadership?
Maybe here’s a few reasons…
1. You Don’t Know Yourself: Often times people who lead know their audience but don’t know themselves. Take a few moments and get to know yourself. Self testing like Jung Typology Test, Myers-Briggs and StrengthFinders are just a few personality tests that will help you see where you are gifted and how that ties into leadership. Then contemplate your motivations for leading as well as personal goals to make sure you are really interested in helping people or ultimately just in leadership to help yourself.
2. You’re Not Sensitive to Followers: This is one area I wish I would have learned a lot sooner in ministry and honestly (like all of these) am still working on. Will Schutz said people come into any relationship situation with three questions related to inclusion, control and openness. They ask…
- Inclusion: Am I in or out?
- Control: Am I on top or on the bottom?
- Openness: Am I open or closed?
How much you think about these questions in regards to the person you are trying to lead is essential to gaining traction.
3. You Don’t Listen: Sure you heard what that person said with your ears but did you really listen to what they had to say with your brain? A few ways to listen to people involve…
- Wait to speak – “The wise listen” Proverbs 12:15
- Ask good questions – Go for clarity
- Overcoming the Impulse to become Defensive
Remember, what we say to others, says much about how we view ourselves.
4. You Don’t Accept People for who They Are: Everyone wants to be accepted and feel valued. Are we making people feel a part of the team or simply in this for ourselves. Ask, “How can we work to show the people we are leading more appreciation?” “How can we help motivate instead of manage?”
5. You Run From Difficult Issues: Conflict teaches us much about ourselves. Great leaders run to conflict in order to learn about themselves and better their leadership.
“Recognize that you will spend much of your life making mistakes. If you can take action and keep making mistakes, you gain experience.” John Maxwell
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The 8 Destructive People in Your Church
AGGRESSORS: Aggressors are always on the march for their own ideas. They push their viewpoint incessantly, regardless of merit. Often they win just by wearing others down. Their battle cry is, “The best defense is a good offense!”
SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDED: These people seem to be against everything. They attack others ideas with ferocity. Sometimes they attack other people directly. When they are around, you know you are always in for a fight. Their battle cry is, “They may win, but we’ll make ’em pay!”
COMMANDERS: Commanders are those who need to be in control, to call the shots. They are also known individually as the “church boss.” Commanders feel that without their control, the church will falter and die. They are therefore indispensable and must be consulted on all decisions. Each commander is the power broker in the church. Their battle cry is, “I’m in charge here at the church!”
SNIPERS: Snipers operate from hiding places. They hide behind others, or they talk secretly behind your back, sending deadly bullets to destroy your credibility, damage your reputation, and undermine your influence. Because they camouflage their efforts so skillfully, you seldom know where the shot came from. Nor do you know when or from what angle the next one is coming. Their battle cry is whispered as they tighten the trigger, “Watch your back, Jack!”
SMART BOMBS: These are the perfectionists, the people who are always right. On whatever issue, theirs is the only correct approach.’ No other approach is rational or biblical or spiritual. Those who do not agree are seen as obstacles. Since, to the Smart Bombs, these are issues of right and wrong (they are right; others are wrong), there is almost a moral obligation to remove the obstacles, and any means of doing so is justified. They often employ snipers. Smart Bombs must win. In the end, they blow up the ministry. Their battle cry is, “I’m right! You’ll see!”
STEALTH BOMBERS: These are the people who simply try to destroy you because they disagree with you. When you least expect it, they will roll a hand grenade under your door and feel relieved to have you out of the way. They also like letter bombs. “Dear Elder Bob, I don’t like to say this, but I feel that I must tell you that…” Their battle cry is, “Yea, though I walk through the valley, I will fear no evil, for I’m the meanest man in the valley!”
PSY-WARRIORS: Psy-warriors win by spreading misinformation. They are experts at “spin” and know how to make a lie sound believable. They rewrite history with such bold artistry that eyewitnesses to the same events are left scratching their heads in bewilderment. They are experts at making you feel like you were in the wrong. Their battle cry is, “And there are lots of others who feel this way!”
STRATEGISTS: Strategists are the power players who are skilled at getting what they want. They are adept at finding and exploiting weaknesses that open the way to achieve their goals. They are the manipulators who devise clever strategies to build their power base or get the votes they need. They skillfully use the other types of problem people to further their own strategies. Their battle cry is, “My ends justify any means!”
It’s easy to see this in others but which one do we see in ourself?
God help us learn how to love and lead these people as we grow to become more like Christ…
- Edgar Schein, Organizational Culture and Leadership (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987), 270.
- Calvin Miller, The Empowered Leader: 10 Keys to Servant Leadership (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1995), 130.
- K. Morrison, Leadership Skills (Tuscon, Ariz.: Fisher, 1983), 149.
- Norman Shawchuck, How to Manage Conflict in the Church (Irvine, Calif.: Spiritual Growth Resources, 1983), 23.
- Glenn M. Parker, Team Players and Teamwork (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990), 42.
- Shawchuck, How to Manage Conflict in the Church,
- Morrison, Leadership Skills,
- Shawchuck, How to Manage Conflict in the Church, 269.
- Andrew Seidel, Charting a Bold Course, 267-269
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