I’ve heard plenty of sermons about how our evangelistic ineffectiveness is directly attributable to our lack of love for lost people. Usually somewhere in those sermons is the phrase, “We just don’t care enough.” While I’m sure that’s true to one degree or another at any given time, I have a different assumption about the people who sit in the theater seats at Grace Hills each week. I assume that they do care. Why? Because Grace Hills cares, and we talk about caring and we show care and we don’t apologize for caring. So the believers who gather as Grace Hills are, for the most part, probably on board with caring or they wouldn’t be showing up.
In other words, I don’t think it’s a matter of a lack of “want to.” It’s often more about “how to.” How do I encourage my friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to become a part of my faith and my church family? Here are the five most simple ways I can think of, at least within the context of my own church family…
- Make a list of a few people you know personally who don’t have a church family or a relationship with Jesus. Pray for them and ask God to give you an opportunity to include them in your church family.
- Bring them to a weekend service. At Grace Hills, we attempt to strike a balance between challenging believers to grow and to go on mission, but also making the truth of Christianity plainly understandable in an atmosphere of real acceptance and love. We are ultra-clear about the gospel, unapologetic about the truth of our message, and unquenchably in love with people – especially people who are lost and hurting inside.
- Bring them to your small group. Sometimes someone at Grace Hills will ask me, “Is it okay to invite my friend to my group? They don’t attend Grace Hills.” When I hear that question, I realize we haven’t been clear enough that this is the very mission of groups to begin with – to connect the disconnected. YES, bring them to your group! And let your group love them too.
- Be a greeter, even if you’re not a greeter. We have a greeting team, but the fact is we tell every new member who attends our Newcomers’ Lunch that once they decide they’re “all in,” they covenant with the rest of the church family to greet those who attend. We’re a family, yes, but we’re not one of those families that keeps to themselves. We’re a family with an open door policy and we love it when extra guests show up to the table!
- Serve people, inside and outside the weekend service. Serving inside the weekend service structure (as a greeter, kids’ leader, diaper changer, stuff-putter-upper, etc.) creates an atmosphere where life change can often happen. And serving outside the weekend service, especially along with the rest of your small group, reflects the real assignment Jesus gave to His church, which is a sent group of people who just happen to gather weekly.
So… bring someone. Think of them, pray for them, invite them, and share Jesus with them by loving words and actions. Now, start your list.