“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Romans 10:14
The day is finally here! We are in our new location at Wagga Christian College. While some things have changed – nicer chairs for one – some things will always remain the same. At WWEC we remain committed to the gospel and to proclaiming it throughout our wonderful city of Wagga. At the heart of who we are and what we do is Jesus.
The gospel itself contains an invitation. An invitation of a fresh start with God. As Christians we have the privilege of inviting people to meet the true and living God in Jesus. Behind this invite is an inviting God. In Isaiah 55:1,6 we read:
“Come, everyone who is thirsty,
come to the waters;
Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call to Him while He is near.”
Jesus himself came with the offer that “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink!” (John 7:37) In the parable of the banquet in Luke 14, God sends out his people to go and invite others to come and sit at the table of eternal fellowship with Him. The call is not to go and perform, not go and give all your money, not go and try and make yourself acceptable to God but to “Come, for everything is ready”. What a wonderful privilege be able to go out with the word on our lips, ‘Come’!
“Would you like to come to church with me sometime?”
We invite people because in the area of love and truth (not to speak of the enormous riches that we have in Christ) we have more to offer than anything or anyone else in the world.
And get this, people actually want to be invited to church! 9 out of 10 unchurched people say they would come to church if invited (according to researcher Thom Rainer). The only problem is, we rarely ask the question. In Australia 73% of church attenders are open to inviting someone, with only 36% having invited someone in the last 12 months (and another 36% are willing to invite someone but haven’t.) We might have someone who could be totally up for it right in front of us, practically beckoning us to invite them, but instead we hesitate and sometimes don’t even get the words out of our mouths.
People want to be invited to church, and they’ll come if we do – yet we’re not doing it. There’s only one probable explanation: fear. Fear of what they’ll think of us for going to church, fear of what they think of our church, fear of what they’ll think of us if they come and don’t like it.
Here are a few tips to get around the fear that has stood in your way up to now:
1. PRAY THAT YOU’D SHARE GOD’S HEART FOR THE LOST
God’s heart for the lost is most clearly seen in his selfless sacrifice of the cross. If your heart has become so hardened that you no longer care that your neighbour is estranged from Christ, repent! Pray that God would give you a powerful love for those who do not know him. Trust that he will give you that love through the Holy Spirit.
2. PRAY FOR SPECIFIC PEOPLE
Pray that God would put five people on your heart you will invite to hear the gospel of his Son. When he does, trust that he will give you the courage to be faithful in reaching out to people he put on your heart.
3. REMEMBER THE GOSPEL
The primary way God reconciles sinners to himself is through the verbal proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. People need to hear the gospel explained to believe. How can they believe if they do not hear?
4. KNOW THAT IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU
Nothing about God saving your non-Christian friend depends on you. Salvation is from the Lord, not as the result of your clever arguments. If you know that God does all the work of awakening a dead heart, it takes the pressure off your abilities to get the words or the timing just right. Our job is being faithful to tell his gospel; the results are of the Lord.
If and when you do invite someone to church, and if and when they do respond to the Holy Spirit and accept Christ as their Saviour—the joy you will experience seeing your friend meet Jesus will make all the fear you had to fight through seem like a breeze.
Whom does God want you to invite to church to hear the gospel?
“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” – 2 Corinthians 3:12