This past Sunday we were reminded of the “great co-mission” Jesus gave us to be His witnesses wherever we go. That simply means we are to tell those around us of what we have seen and heard and experienced in our relationship with Christ. That could also include an invitation to our friends and neighbors to join us in church.
And I wonder, how long has it been since you’ve told someone about the difference Christ makes in your life? How long since you’ve invited an unbelieving or unchurched friend to come and worship with you at Shelby Crossings?
I read some statistics this week that got my attention. Did you know that 82% of unchurched Americans say they would come to church if someone invited them. That’s right, even in our increasingly irreligious culture, eight in ten people would come to worship if only there was someone who would extend to them an invitation.
If that surprises you, then how about this: 89% of lost, unbelieving people in this country say they would go to church if someone–a friend, neighbor or relative–walked in the door with them. That is, not just inviting them verbally, but offering them a ride or meeting them at the door, and walking in with them.
I don’t know about you, but I’m more than a little encouraged by those numbers. We have often been led to believe that in today’s culture our lost friends and neighbors are antagonistic against all things church-related, when in fact they are just waiting for us to care enough to invite them to join us.
In another survey, people who are actively involved in their churches were asked, “What or who was responsible for your coming to Christ and your church?” Here are the results: Special need, 1-2%; Walk-in, 2-3%; Pastor, 5-6%, Visitation, 1-2%, Sunday School, 4-5%, Evangelistic crusade 1/2-1%; Church Program, 2-3%; Friend/Relative, 79-86%.
In other words, it was almost always the influence and invitation of a friend or relative that brought them to Christ and church, and had the greatest lasting spiritual impact on their lives. Not a pastor, and not a program–but a friend.
But that brings me to a more disturbing statistic: only 2% of church members in America actually invite unchurched folks to attend on a regular basis. It’s not hard to do the math to realize that if they are waiting on an invitation, and we are not inviting them, then they will continue down the same hopeless path, without Christ and without the loving community we experience in His family.
“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” (Romans 10:14, NLT)
Let’s tell them. Let’s invite them. Let’s reach out to our lost and hurting world with the love of Christ this week. Let’s be His witnesses, empowered by the Holy Spirit to share the good news of the gospel wherever we go.
I am sure glad we are on mission together. I am praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.