Apparently only 2% of Western Christians habitually invite people to church. I really don’t know what to make of that statistic. – Tangent – ( I’d really like to see the raw data involved here, what were the folks doing this research measuring, why were they even measuring it. How can you even get hard data on this – hence I’m treating this information a tad sceptically.)
So if so few people are Inviting folk to church services, what does that really mean to you and me, what does it mean for the future of church, for the future of man, for the future of our world?
Does it really mean that these folk are not being missional or evengelical enough in their behaviour? You know what, it probably won’t surprise you (or it might), I don’t think it does. Just because we’re not inviting folk to attend traditional church services – I don’t think that means that disciples of Jesus aren’t preaching good news to the poor in their workplace, family and community.
Is it really about getting folk through the door to “hear the gospel”? Or is it really about us as disciples of Jesus being the gospel to the hurting, the oppressed, the poor, the prisoners. Is it more about welcoming voices of those who may seem to be outside our own tradition but can behave more like disciples of Jesus than the most strident of “evangelical” voices.
Is it closer to the truth to say we are called by our father to seek out those enslaved by debt, imprisoned by fear, imprisoned by religion and impoverished by oppressive cultural “norms” around gender roles and sexuality.
“Love your neighbour as yourself” – is about what our neighbour needs, NOT about filling our weekly quota. Our neighbours need a community of Jesus disciples – Red Letter Christians – This really isn’t about getting folk through the door on a Sunday. It’s sharing lives, it’s kindness, it’s graciousness. It’s rejecting pettiness, it’s rejecting indifference, it’s rejecting the numbers game and embracing the people game. It’s sharing our story, it’s sharing His story, it’s listening to others’ stories.
It’s combining invitational behaviour (come and see how cool our stuff is) with incarnational behaviour (let me come alongside you where you are and help you in the way you need it). It’s us “being the miracle” as Bruce Almighty would say – more on him next time….
Be the miracle; be less concerned about how many people are coming in your doors and more concerned with sending folk out the doors. Build the community of Christ where the people are.