As I have traveled the world, I have yet to find an invitational church.
So let me ask you the following question with two possible answers, (you have to choose between the two answers): Is your congregation welcoming or inviting? As I have asked this question right around the world to pastors, you can imagine which answer is chosen: welcoming! But how welcoming can we be if we are not inviting?
We are welcoming as long as people can get themselves across the threshold of the church building, but we don’t take our welcome out in the form of invitation.
Something is going wrong at the threshold of our church buildings. I became fascinated as to why congregational members are not inviting. In fact, I went on to find out that up to 95 percent of most congregational members are not going to be doing any inviting.
My journey has now taken in 12 countries across five continents, multiple denominations and thousands of churches, and I became a one-question researcher, “Why are we not inviting our friends to take a closer look at Christ and his church?”
Here are some of the answers I receive regularly and some of my thoughts as I hear them. Look below the surface and you will find something God anticipated.
1. “We have no non-church going friends.”
Now either this is true or it is not true. Let’s for one moment say that this is true, that would lead the pastor to conclude that we are a church that has ghettoised itself.
Let’s say it is not true, then of course we are lying to ourselves! It is either one or the other and God graciously opens up a teaching path.
2. “It’s the pastor’s job!”
I have heard some congregational members go on to say, “In fact, what on earth are we paying them for if they are not into mission?” I have heard of church management meetings where fingers are pointed very firmly in the direction of the pastor.
We must remember, however, that when we start pointing the finger, three fingers are pointed back straight at us. Jesus invited the 72 into mission. He invited us all into mission.
Now mission is a large concept, into which many books have been written. However, at the center of most mission is invitation. We can all invite, and therefore it is not just the church leader’s job.