Who is that for you? A friend? A family member?
We all have someone, but let me ask you this: Why is it really easy to talk with strangers about the Netflix show you binged, but you can't talk to close friends about the church that has changed your life?
Can I tell you a secret? Even though I'm a pastor, I feel the same way.
I can ramble on about Cobra Kai or Stranger Things, but talking about spiritual matters can make me feel like I'm 16 again, asking a girl out on a date: sweaty hands, dry mouth and tongue-tied.
But, I've learned a few things that have helped.
Here are 5 things to help when you've got someone you want to come to church, but you are scared to invite them.
5 Things to Help When You Want to Invite Someone to Church
1. Begin with prayer.
I don't mean pray as you are walking up to ask them to come to Easter service. I mean pray for that person every single day. Pray for their health; pray for their job; pray for their marriage; and eventually, you'll wonder how you can pray with even more specificity for them.
This will lead to a great conversation of "Hey, anything I can be praying about for you?" I find that people are very open to this. Then do it; pray for them, and ask them how it's going in a few weeks.
2. Listen to them.
When they talk, don't just wait to speak. Listen. When they post, don't just react. Listen.
Why are they saying this? What is going on in their life? What might God be up to that you can join Him in.
3. Eat with them.
Invite them to dinner before you ever invite them to church. Listen to them. Find out about their lives. Don't see them as a project, but as a person. They have hopes and dreams. They have hurts and hang ups. They want their kids to be safe and successful. Just like you.
Find commonality in that before you ask about their soul.
4. Serve them.
Now that you know them, find a way to serve them. It might be taking them dinner. It might be helping them get trash out to the corner or their dumpsters back to the house. It might be dropping donuts off at their door.
Just be the kind of neighbor you'd like to have.
5. Share your story.
When a big event at your church comes up, or when they ask about your weekend plans, or when they might even ask why you are so kind, share your story about church. Not what they should think, believe or do. Instead, share how church has helped you, how this service is always fun for your family or how following Jesus has changed your life.
No one can argue with your story, so share it.
These five things spell out the acronym B.L.E.S.S., and they are all part of a conversation I had recently with the author of the B.L.E.S.S. book, Dave Ferguson. You can listen to that conversation here.
Notice that in that whole list, we haven't even mentioned inviting that person to church. But when you do, remember these things:
— Most people don't even know a Christian, so be a kind one.
— Most people don't know where to go to church, what to wear, if they need to pass an entrance exam ... So invite them to watch online first. Share a recent service with them, and ask them what they thought about it.
— Most people are just waiting for an invitation, so just ask! And if they don't come, no worries. One day they will, and they'll thank you for being so patient with them.
Who is that person you want to invite?
Start "B.L.E.S.S.ing" them today.
For more from Dave Ferguson, listen to this episode of Leading Simple with Rusty George on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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