According to Thom Rainer's book, The Unchurched Next Door, 82% of our friends and family that don’t attend church are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited. There is more. Seven out of ten unchurched people have never been invited to church in their whole lives. I say we ought to do something about that.
I know for many of us God has been breaking though and showing us what life can be like if we learn to live in true freedom. We have been learning what it really means to have a relationship with God and not just a life of “sin-management”.
So, lets ask ourselves, “Is there anyone I know that is not living a life that is as free as the one I have discovered?”
- How about my sister who is just existing in a marriage that has gone stale?
- A neighbor that is complaining about how much stress he is under?
- A stay-at home mom that is struggling to find any life outside of anything but a life surrounded by children?
- A single mom that is being crushed under the weight of trying to be both parents for her kids?
- A co-worker that is just moving through life in zombie-like fashion? Each day they wake up, drive to work, work all day at a job they hate, drive home, eat, sleep, and wake up to do it all over again. All the while thinking, “There has to be more to life.”
- Or how about that friend who does go to church, but he has not experienced freedom? For him, church is just a list of do’s and don’ts. It is all about trying harder to keep God happy, yet all the while feeling exhausted and like a failure because they can’t keep up.
Do you know anyone like the people above? If so, they are the perfect person to invite to Next Level Church.
Now, you may not have all the right words to explain this freedom that you have discovered. That is OK. There are examples of people in the Bible that did not have the words to explain Jesus as well and maybe you can adopt their strategy.
When Phillip was trying to explain something different about Jesus, Nathaniel began to argue whether Jesus could be somebody based on the fact that he came from Nazareth. Philip didn't try to argue the point. He just said, "Come and see." He had his own little inviting campaign going.
The woman Jesus talked to at the well did a similar thing. She didn't give a lecture on 12 reasons to believe that Jesus is the Christ. She just said, "Come and see.”
Come and See!
So, how can we set up our own little “Come and See” inviting campaign?
1. Set up the invite.
You know Easter is coming; it’s not sneaking up on you. Plant seeds early. Use the invite cards (you can pick some up at Guest Services or the Coffee Bar) and/or share our Instagram/Facebook ads as a way to start the conversation. (And please, do it with enthusiasm and excitement. If you aren’t looking forward to Easter Sunday, why would they?)
2. Prepare them.
If they’ve never stepped foot inside a church, or if it’s been a long time, ask if they have questions or concerns. If they have children, let them know about our children’s programs. Ask them if they have any questions and give them an idea of the length of service (60 mins), what to wear (whatever is comfortable for them) and what to expect.
Ask them to go to our website and click on our Plan Your Visit page to fill out that form. https://www.nextlevelchurch.org/youre-coming If they do, they will get the VIP treatment and someone will personally walk them through the whole process of attending church for the first time.
3. Meet them.
Let them know what service you will be attending and agree to meet them when they arrive. We have a whole team that will make sure they get to where they need and feel welcomed, but nothing beats seeing your familiar face. As our guest services team walks them around, go with them. Then, in the service, sit with them. Following the service, go with them to Guest Services to pick up their gift and walk with them to go pick up their children.
4. Follow up.
Send them a text, or actually call them later in the day, not to badger them with questions, but just to extend a genuine appreciation that they joined you. There is no ask in this conversation; it’s just to say, “I’m glad you came.”
As a follower of Jesus, you are a part of their journey. Be in their life, as a friend, regardless of what they thought or if they ever go back with you to another service. Be the light and salt in their life, water the seeds planted, love them. And remember, God does work we cannot see.
This Easter, let’s excitedly bring people with us into a conversation. Let’s live out the freedom we have found in Jesus and invite them to “Come and See” what we have found.