By Megan Rawlings
“When was the last time you invited someone to church or shared the gospel with them?”
The question hung in the air. I was only 20 when I was asked this, but I had been a Christian long enough to know I should have had a quick answer. However, as I stood in front of the pastor who posed the question, I sadly could not remember the last time I had told someone about salvation through Jesus. I was humiliated.
I, like most Christ followers, had allowed life in general to suck up all my free time. I attended church every week and debated theology with friends all the while largely ignoring those around me who didn’t have a relationship with God.
The Perfect Opportunity
Easter is April 12, and most congregations will celebrate with a service focused on the resurrection of Jesus. The message of the empty tomb is a powerful way for unbelievers to come and be part of the Christian faith. Be on the lookout for those around you who do not have a church home. According to Thom Rainer, the majority of people you invite to church will agree to attend as long as you meet them and sit with them. I encourage you to be a church invitation machine this Easter!
I especially encourage you to invite people to church in front of your children. Kids often mimic the behavior of the adults in their lives. Inviting friends and neighbors is a great way to start, or you can be brave and invite the cashier at the grocery store.
Inviting someone with no church home to a service strikes many as awkward. Yet, we need to constantly preach the gospel to ourselves to remind us in our haze of busyness that God’s love for us is the only part of our lives we can absolutely trust. If you focus on the cross, you can overcome the fear of an awkward encounter. However, I have rarely found it uncomfortable to invite someone to a church function. Most people seem truly grateful to be asked.
When Necessary, Use Words
It’s been said, “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” That quote is often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, but he never actually said it. While living a Christian life is important, people are converted when they hear the good news about Christ (Romans 10:17). Therefore, if we are not telling people about what Jesus accomplished on the cross, we are not fully “preaching the gospel.” Charles Spurgeon concluded, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” That might sound harsh, but it is in accord with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and the rest of the New Testament.
Too many Christians think they need to become scholars or train in apologetics to reach the lost. I am all about scholarship and apologetics, but often all you need to do is invite someone to a church gathering, greet them at the door, sit with your guests, and listen together as the message of Christ is shared.
The Right Tool for the Job
A great way to invite the unchurched to your congregation is with a simple slip of paper, perhaps a business card or postcard, that lists the times of your church services as well as the church’s physical and website addresses (if your church does not make these available, you can create them yourself). A card like that and perhaps a friendly reminder, such as a text, can go a long way. It will not only help the person you invite to check out the church but will also remind you about your responsibility to be involved in kingdom work.
I’ve never forgotten that pastor’s question from when I was 20. Since then, it’s been my mission to share the gospel with as many people as God allows me. I pray you do the same, especially because Easter is coming and it is a perfect time to start. All you have to do is ask someone to come with you to church, and then let the message of the empty tomb do the rest.
Megan Rawlings is the founder and CEO of The Bold Movement. She is an extrovert, pastor’s wife, and lover of the Scriptures.