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5 Ways to Encourage People Into God’s Family

WelcomeI’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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.

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  • http://7sistershomeschool.com kym smythe

    Hey Brandon,

    Great stuff!

    We spend a lot of time talking about this in our family. We are very blessed to find that just about everyone we know in our local community is well anchored in God’s family and a church.

    My youngest daughters play travel ice hockey and we feel like we have a tremendous mission field there. Any tips when you are ministering to and trying to welcome in folks who are too far away to go to your local church?

    • http://www.brandonacox.com Brandon

      Kym, thanks so much! I’m a big believer in the “six degrees of separation” concept, so often when someone is far away, I try to think of someone I have some kind of connection with in their area and invite them to that person’s church. Occasionally I will even make a contact if they’re interested. And whenever you’re heading out on a trip somewhere, it’s not a bad idea just to find out something about a church or two in the area.

  • Ron

    Enjoy your articles.
    Like the man said, “hard to have a following, if you aren’t moving.”

  • Ron Cram

    Hi Brandon,
    Some good thoughts here. I’m a member of Saddleback Church, a business owner and a Talbot Seminary graduate. God has been working in my life and has opened up ministry opportunities on university campuses. I started surveying professors and students about their thoughts and beliefs and was shocked by what I learned.

    I think our evangelistic ineffectiveness has more to do with the spirit of the times. Jesus told the parable of the soils and we live in a time of hard soil. I believe the soil is made hard by the university experience. The rise of the militant atheists is having a huge impact on students and graduates. Christians are openly mocked on campus for being superstitious and uneducated.

    According to Pew Research on Religion in America, the fastest growing segment of the population is the Nones – that is, people with no church affiliation. A small but fast growing percentage of these Nones are agnostics and atheists. A larger group of Nones are people who think life is in some sense spiritual, but they are not members of any church They may be pursuing eastern spirituality or American Indian spirituality or their own spirituality, but Christ and Christianity are pretty much off the table. (A percentage of these people may be open to Christ, but a large percentage are not.) Many of these people are college educated and view Christianity as not intellectually viable. They do not want to be church members because they know a percentage of society will judge them to be ignorant, uneducated and superstitious.

    I wrote a short booklet titled “Is Christianity True? Why Three Brilliant Atheists Became Christians.” It’s 64 pages, the same size as Pastor Rick’s booklet “What On Earth Am I Here For?” It tells the conversion stories of Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Allan Sandage and Lee Strobel. We have done a few focus groups with students and they show the booklet actually changes minds regarding the intellectual viability of Christianity and the compatibility of science with Christianity.

    Sorry for the long comment. If you like, you can email me and I will tell you more.