If you invite them, they will come

Why? Why do so many Christians have such a hard time inviting people to church? We invite people to dinner, ball games, picnics and numerous events and programs. So why is it so hard to get folks to invite their friends and family to a church service?

A simple answer: We can get the church to invite people to church by repeatedly instructing them to invite people to church (once is not enough, that’s why there are four gospels). Honest, it works.

I fairly well guarantee that the first time you attend a church service, somebody either brought you or invited you. At the very least, someone welcomed you.

“On one of the days while Jesus was teaching, some proud religious law-keepers and teachers of the law were sitting by him. They had come from every town in the countries of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. The power of the Lord was there to heal them. Some men took a man who was not able to move his body to Jesus. He was carried on a bed. They looked for a way to take the man into the house where Jesus was. But they could not find a way to take him in because of so many people. They made a hole in the roof over where Jesus stood. Then they let the bed with the sick man on it down before Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.'” Luke 5:17-20.

Somebody loved this guy enough to bring him to Jesus. Ok, maybe you’re thinking, “Well, if Jesus would show up at my church, I’d sure invite everybody to come and see him.” Well, the Church of Jesus Christ is the body of Christ. Just look at 1 Corinthians 12. As the adage goes, “You may be the only Jesus people will ever see.”

Allow me to ask a seemingly simple question. Why are we here? Why are we still alive? That may seem to be not only a simple question but also a silly one. I’ve heard various answers. A good one is that we might “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 2:18.

Yes, but for what purpose? There are only two reasons that I can think of that we remain on the face of this Earth. First, God loves us, and he is patiently waiting for you and the world, those created in his image, to come to the saving knowledge of his son. He is waiting for mankind to be born again (John 3:1-21). Secondly, we remain here to fulfill our individual ministries “Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5.

As believers, we are promised eternal life in a place called heaven. We can learn this from the most repeated verse of Scripture. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

If heaven is our promise, and we are assured that, everything in heaven will be better than it is here. There will be no limping in heaven; not even Jacob will be limping. There’ll be no hearing aids, glasses or sickness of any kind. The music will be better, the teaching and preaching will be better, our houses will be better, our looks will be better. Everything will be better because we will see Jesus face to face. When we see him, “We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2.

Everything will be better in heaven, except one thing: Nobody comes to Christ from heaven. “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” Luke 16:31. Fulfilling our ministries is the only reason I see for Christians to remain on Earth. We are here to “Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5.

I know of no easier form of evangelism than getting the church to invite people to church. Here are a few reasons why we don’t and a scriptural reason why we should:

1. I do not like to talk about religion (or politics) with friends and family. “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30.

2. I do not want to push my religion on people. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes …” Romans 1:16

3. Church is a personal thing. I go to be fed and inspired. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4.

4. That’s the pastor’s job. “He himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry.” Ephesians 4:11-12.

5. People are busy, and many only have weekends off work or school, etc. “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.

6. I’m embarrassed to ask people to “my” church. “For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, of him the son of man will be ashamed when he comes in his own glory, and in his father’s, and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26.

7. We’re just a small family church. It’s embarrassing that there are so few people who attend. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20.

8. My church is too charismatic, or too traditional, or too legalistic, etc. “Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:39-40.

9. Church is about my needs and my growth, plus, I don’t really like people that much. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20.

10. The truth is, we do not invite people to church because we are either ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or we do not really believe what we profess to believe. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!'” Matthew 7:21-23.

If they are invited, they will come.

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