Easter is April 21. Who are the top ten people you would like to see worshiping with you
that day? Have you thought about inviting them? Are you praying for them? If not, why not? If so, what do you need from God in order to extend an invitation to them?
Thom Rainer, a self-described church “research nerd,” lists ten reasons church members don’t invite others to church:
I just don’t think about it.
I’m afraid I’ll be rejected.
The music isn’t that good.
The preaching isn’t strong.
We’ve got too many church problems right now.
Our church is already too crowded.
Nobody ever challenged me to invite anyone.
I don’t know how to start the conversation.
It’s the Spirit’s job—not mine—to bring people to church.
It’s too far for people to come. (Rainer Report, January 9, 2019)
Now, the following three statements are true:
No church is perfect. Certainly not ours!
Attending worship at Hope is not going to make you a Christian any more than sitting in your garage is going to make you a car.
Many people that we know and love have absolutely no interest in attending worship at all.
But the following three statements are also true:
God has used imperfect churches to tell the world that there is repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus from the get go.
Something happens in worship services at Hope that just doesn’t happen in a lot of other places: People are exposed to the Word of God—proclaimed and embodied (however imperfectly) in real people who have met and are being transformed by having a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. And it is by hearing and believing the Word of God that people become Christians; people who have by no means “attained” perfection, but who have been redeemed from slavery to sin and made adopted daughters and sons of God by grace through faith in the only begotten Son of God.
People who have never tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord for themselves have no idea what they are missing.
If you invite people to worship with you on April 21, they will most certainly not experience a perfect church. They will most certainly not receive a ticket to heaven when they die by walking through the door. They may not experience anything that changes their lives at all.
But they will hear the gospel, which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
I’m practicing what I preach. I’m making my top ten list. I’m praying for the people on my list. I’m going to invite them to worship on Easter. And I’m putting the outcome of that praying and inviting in the hands of God.
But I’m not just praying for other people. I’m praying that the grace and love of God will be embodied (however imperfectly) in me as I invite them.