by Ken Cooper
Who lives across the street from you? What about next door? We don’t need researchers and surveys to know that we don’t know our neighbors anymore. There are many reasons why, not the least of which is that we move so often that we know after a few years we will move away from our friends. It’s easier just to avoid the pain. So we know them as the people who throw the noisy parties, or the people with the obnoxious children, or the people with the three big dogs. There are tens of thousands of unchurched people living within five miles of Green Mountain Christian Church. Did you know that only 25% of them have ever been invited to any church? Surveys indicate that 50% of those people will visit a church if invited, 65% of those people will visit a church if they have been invited by someone they know. And they are three times more likely to return when invited by someone they know. So, do the math. If in the next year you invited twelve people, that’s one person a month, to attend church with you, six of them will have never been invited before and three of them would come with you and would be likely to return. If twenty of us from GMCC would invite one person a month, sixty new people would be likely to come at our invitation and keep attending. GMCC would nearly double in attendance in just one year but more importantly, sixty more people would have the opportunity to heat the gospel. Who knows how many will become Christians? So, what about your neighbors (yes the ones with the obnoxious children and who throw loud parties)? What about your friends, your coworkers, your relatives, what about the guy who works at the gas station or the grocery clerk? Have you invited them? It doesn’t take special training to invite someone to come to church with you. It just takes some kind of relationship, even a casual one, to open the door for someone to hear the gospel.
Consider the woman at the well in John 4:25-42. Jesus initiated a casual conversation with her about a drink of water and soon she was so excited about Jesus that she went back to town and told everybody about Him. Because of her enthusiasm, the whole town came out to see Jesus. Many of them believed because of what the woman said, but after spending a couple of days with Jesus listening to what he taught, they believed even more strongly because they had heard for themselves and came to know Jesus as the Messiah. All it took was her invitation to come and see Jesus. For some of the people you know, all it will take to get them on the road to becoming a Christian is for you to invite them to come to church with you. Just invite one person at a time. Let me share a quick note about inviting people to church. Just inviting them to come to church sometime doesn’t often work, even if they seem amenable to the idea. A better way to get to come is to invite them to come with you on a specific Sunday and offer to pick them up. Coming with someone they know will greatly reduce any uneasiness they might have about attending an unfamiliar church.