Who will you invite to church?
This week in a meeting at work I heard an amazing statistic: one out of every four people you ask, will accept your invitation to church. One out of four! I have also always heard that it takes on average, seven to twelve times for a non-believer to hear an invitation to Christ before he or she will accept it in his or her heart. And then there is my neighborhood...
When we first moved to our street, there was one other household that went to church. I grew up on a cattle ranch, and I like to think that I am a farmer sowing seeds like the parable in Luke 8. My dad had all kinds of soil to work with. He could have just put a fence around the rocky or deadpan pathways and ignored it. But he didn’t. He kept expanding the area that could be planted which in turn reaped more each year.
Like in Luke 8:5-8, each of my neighbors represented a different kind of soil. The first year we lived in our neighborhood, we held a party and invited everyone. We were surprised to learn that some that had lived on our street for years had never met until our party.
I had invitations for attending a church service by the front door and I made sure that I handed one to each of my neighbors. It revealed a lot about what kind of soil they were for me to work with. That day I got no takers but at least they all knew that they were welcome to join me any time. I could have easily told myself that my effort was enough. I could have thought that if they want to go to church with me in the future, they will contact me. But instead, it dawned on me that if I was going to get them to church, I needed to have a relationship with them.
Some farmers know that you have to do the hard work for bigger results. Turning a rocky, weedy field into fertile soil takes extra effort-effort many of us tell ourselves we don’t have time for. It’s so easy in my neighborhood to drive by my neighbors, wave, and drive right into my garage without talking to them. And how about the neighbors who are not that friendly or interested in becoming your friend?
Over twenty years later, almost all of my neighbors have gone to church with me. Some attend regularly. It took seven years of relationship building for the German lady down the street to accept my invitation. She now attends with her adult sons. What if I had stopped at year six? The auto mechanic in my neighborhood wasn’t interested, but years later he now brings his work buddies to church special events. The young family was easy at first but then got busy and fell away. I started talking about kids going to summer camp in order to get them back. There is a new young couple on our street. They haven’t been receptive to my invitations but I just took them dinner the other night. We are celebrating the delivery of their twin babies and they had a great talk with my husband.
Sowing seeds is the easy part; “persevering to produce a crop” takes work. Jesus didn’t care what kind of soil he was working with. He knew no one deserved to have a fence built around them and be ignored. God bless you and your efforts to invite your neighbors to church. May their hearts be open. He has Risen!
Read Luke 8:1-15.
List your neighbors and what soil they represent? Who in your neighborhood could you invite to church? What is keeping you from doing so?
Who do you need to start building a relationship with, including the rocky soil, weeds, or the pathway? What could you do as a first step?
Who in your neighborhood needs prayer? Walk around your street one night and pray over each house. See what God does with your efforts.
Who could you partner up with on your street to put on a neighborhood pot-luck party? When will it be?
At Principles to Live By, we really do believe that a good, successful life is one filled with great relationships, and we want to help you with that. If you would like to connect with me, feel free to reach out to email@example.com. I would love to hear about who you have invited to church and how that worked out!
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