Skip to main content

Time to Invite- for Easter Sunday!

one of my professors as i pursued my doctorate at wesley theological seminary in washington, d.c. was dr. lovett weems, director of the lewis center for church leadership. he recently shared this post on inviting friends and colleagues for worship. as we approach easter sunday, april 8, please begin to pray for persons to invite to worship with you. the oak lawn church is such a vital, unique place that we have an incredible opportunity to share God's story with others!   - pastor frank

In the last year, several friends who live in different parts of the country have returned to church after a number of years of inactivity. This is encouraging and counter to the national trend since 2002 of fewer people attending church. There are two striking characteristics among these church returners.

None returned to a church of their former denomination.

All returned because they were invited by a friend.

Inviting friends to church or even a church-related activity is much less common and comfortable today for many church members than it once was. However, the recent Faith Communities Today research on growing and declining churches found that the strongest positive relationship to growth among programs and activities was “the extent to which a congregation is involved in evangelism or recruitment.” These churches exhibit a major orientation toward inviting others.

Does this outward, invitational ethos characterize your church’s members?

Many rightfully admire the remarkable example of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection near Kansas City in growing from a new church start in 1990 to one of the largest mainline congregations in the United States. One of the characteristics of Resurrection from the beginning — and modeled by its gifted pastor Adam Hamilton — is to identify a few important next steps they need to take each year. Adam recently described the three (notice there are not 10 or 12!) priorities for 2012.

One of Resurrection’s three goals for 2012 is that “each member of the church will be called to and equipped for a renewed practice of inviting our friends, neighbors and colleagues.” Pastor Hamilton reminded members that “most people who come to faith in Christ do so because a trusted friend shared their faith or invited them to church. The impact of each of us sharing Christ with others is astounding.”

This is a good reminder that whether your church numbers its members in the thousands or dozens, the call of Jesus to share the Good News with others as a natural result of God’s love for us is the work not merely of a pastor, staff, or a committee — essential as they are — but of all who bear the name Christian.


Popular posts from this blog

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

Grief Is a Powerful Thing

"So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
My first couple of Sundays at Grace, early in July, a couple of different people asked me this question immediately before worship: "How are you feeling?" My response: "Terrified." This was met with sort of shocked looks, then afterward the same person would say something like, "See that was ok." I've always been nervous before preaching-- the ramped up nerves help me to focus on my task and give me energy. But this seemed stronger. On Saturday nights my first couple of months at Grace I would hear an inner critic saying, "You're not prepared." "You're going to bomb today." Most Sundays he was wrong. A couple of sermons did bomb, but that happens. I decided to seek out a spiritual director to help me discern what was going on with me. I knew it was internal, but couldn…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…