If you invite them, they will come

How many empty seats are in the church you attend? Knowing our area, I would imagine more than are filled. Why is that? Whose fault is it? Some would say, it’s the preacher’s fault, others would blame the age of the congregation. There are myriads of excuses, but the real reason is simple. We are not inviting people to Church.

According to Ephesians, the job of the pastor is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, not be the only one doing the work. See Ephesians 4:12-16. Sheep are to beget sheep; it is somewhat of a perversion for the shepherds to do so.

Yes, if you invite them, they will come. Thom S. Rainer of Lifeway Christian Resources shares some interesting reasons about unchurched people. The following are some excerpts from a recent article in Outreach Magazine.

He gives five insights to why people do not attend church: 1- Most have some church background (attended as children). 2- Most quit church because they got out of the habit of going. 3- One-third have plans to go to church in the future. (Read that statement carefully. One of three unchurched Americans are actually planning to return to church. Is your church actively inviting them?). 4- The unchurched are very open to a gospel conversation. (consider, 8 of 10 unchurched Americans would welcome a gospel conversation).

5- If you invite them, they will come. About a year ago, Thom received requests to provide a framework for churches to invite people to church. They called it “Invite Your One.” They are now getting responses from churches that have initiated this ministry, and they are blown away at what God is doing. Among the unchurched, 55 percent said they would attend church if invited by a family member. In addition, 51 percent said they would attend church if invited by a friend or neighbor. These numbers are staggering. The opportunities are incredible.

He has been involved in church research and practice for four decades, a testament to both his passion and elderly status. These data confirm my anecdotal observations that there has never been a more opportune time to connect with the lost and unchurched. It’s truly an incredible opportunity. However, I wonder how many churches will seize this God-given moment.

Jude 1 instructs us, “On some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.” If someone were drowning, would you at least throw them a life preserver? If your family were in harm’s way, would you not at least warn them? How much more should we attempt to deliver those who are headed for eternal destruction? Won’t you hold them back? Won’t you do your level best to get them to Christ? Simply tell people what you know. Any of us can invite them to church.

If You Build It, They will Come, was a good-line in the movie, Field of Dreams, but in real life, If You Invite Them, They will Come.

(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)