This really is the most wonderful time of the year…especially for inviting people to church! Now before you groan and write this post off as one more example of a pastor trying to hype a Christmas service as a chance to draw a crowd, hear me out.
I honestly believe there are four main things that hold us back from inviting people to church with us:
- Lack of relationships with non-Christians.
- Lack of confidence in the gospel.
- Fear of rejection.
- Fear they won’t like it if they come.
Admittedly, Christmas doesn’t help with the first one – if you don’t know anyone to invite, it’s going to be hard to invite! But if that’s really the case, I think it’s time to seriously examine how you’re living. What changes do you need to make in 2016 to develop some level of relationship with people outside the church? Those changes need to become a high priority in the New Year.
But when it comes to #3 and #4, Christmas is a huge help. This is the time of year (even more than Easter) when people are most willing to go to church. People won’t perceive your invitation as you trying to force Jesus down their throats. They’ll see it as you inviting them into your holiday traditions and caring about their holiday experience. In terms of #4, Christmas is also your best friend – they’re going to be familiar with a lot of the music (that’s why we’re only doing Christmas carols this Sunday and Christmas Eve) and the basic plot of the sermon. Even people from other faith traditions will know what they’re in for – some carols and the story of a Baby born to save the world (if your pastor preaches on the dietary laws in Leviticus, it’s time for a new church!!).
Oh, by the way, the gospel is beautiful enough to handle all of the confidence you place in it! Remember Paul’s words, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.“(Romans:1:16) God is constantly drawing people to Himself with the wonderfully simply message of “Jesus in my place.” The amazing thing is that He wants to use us in that appeal!
So, Restoration City, bring some folks with you this Sunday! And, if you’re in town on Christmas Eve, do it again on Thursday! You’ll be amazed how open people might be to your invitation. The good news of Christmas is a Savior who was born for all men. Let’s do our part in making sure people hear this wonderful message during this incredible season.