Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Four stages of inviting

Most people go through four stages of inviting people to church, I think. Here are 4,000 words worth of visuals.

Stage 1: Church members who figure that everyone in town knows where the church is and can come if they want to. It's sort of like Yogi Berra said about declining attendance at ball games, "If people don't want to come out to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?"

Stage 2: Members become willing to invite, but don't want the existing nature of the congregation to change. So they invite only people with whom they are already comfortable - people they already know and who are are similar to them in education, income, lifestyle and age.

Stage 3: Members who realize that similarity with people they invite is much less important than whether the other persons are connected with a church already. These are members who want to be "fishers of people" but are not very interested in fishing in aquariums, or fishing for members of other churches. They know that unchurched people are whom Jesus said to take the Gospel.

Stage 4: At this stage, church members enthusiastically offer Christ with anyone whom the opportunity presents. If the others turn out to already be connected, that's great, and if not, they are invited.