It is always nice to be asked. Whether it is for a life event or just a night out with friends, it feels nice to receive an invitation. It shows that people are thinking of us and that we are important enough to be included. We are valued. Some invitations are more meaningful than others, of course. It may be that an invitation is just a formality, like when you are invited to your 3rd cousin’s wedding in Bora Bora. They know you aren’t coming; you know you aren’t going, but still, the invitation is sent and received. Or maybe it is to an invitation to your nephew’s mid-year college graduation in North Dakota. Outside. In December. There is no way you are making that trip, but still, they remembered you.
When Jesus came to the world, he gave an open invitation, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30) He asks us to continue sending that invitation to any and all we know.
When you invite someone to church, it shows that you care. Even when you don’t think the person will come, or you have been declined 100 times, keep making the invitation. Doing so indicates that not only is your faith and church important to you, but that the person being invited is important to you. You want to share a part of your life that is valuable, with the people in your life that are valuable. It also shows your love and devotion to Christ by being obedient to His command to make disciples. Going to church and inviting people to church is certainly not the only thing we do to fulfill the Great Commission, but it can be a wonderful step in that direction.
Finally, inviting people to church is an effective way to get them there. Advertising is an option, but it is the least effective option and often costs an inordinate amount of money. What about a visitation ministry? Shouldn’t the pastor and/or some qualified folks chase down leads I give them? While more effective than advertising, it is just barely so and takes a lot of time in an increasingly closed off culture. What about the pastor? Isn’t it his job to grow the church? Well, yes and no. His call is to equip the saints to do ministry (Eph.4:11-12). While he certainly should invite people, he or even multiple staff will never get the job done. It is “expected” that the Pastor will ask. His invitation is less meaningful, especially to your friends and family.
The best way to get people to come to church, is for a friend to invite them, and keep inviting them. So who will you invite?