Read This: “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law can be summed up in a single commandment, namely, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14)
Think: Inviting our neighbors, whether they are friends, co-workers, family members, or actually people on our street, to church is an intimidating task for a lot of people. That kind of thing doesn’t often come up on its own, so it might feel a little awkward. And no matter how great your neighbors are, asking someone to come to church with you seems to violate the “I’m okay, you’re okay” code our culture lives by. People may genuinely be offended by our good intentions.
But the truth is, this isn’t about us. This is God’s story, not our story. We get to play a small part by simply inviting someone to come to church. Most of the time, we have no idea what God’s doing in people’s hearts. All we need to do is love that person enough to get through a potentially uncomfortable conversation.
If the people you invite don’t come, don’t give up. The invitation was only one way to show God’s love—there are countless other ways. If they say yes, all the better. Remember that going to church for the first time or even visiting a new church can be intimidating. Take it a step further and think of ways you treat them as you would want to be treated through that process—sitting with them during the service, walking them through the check-in process if they have kids, inviting them to lunch afterwards.
Inviting someone to church is important, but whatever the outcome, it’s only one step of loving our neighbor. Jesus tells us in Luke 15:7, “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent.” Let’s love people enough to endure some awkwardness, embarrass ourselves a little (or a lot), and even risk offending someone for the sake of the Gospel.
Ask: Is there someone you need to invite to church with you?
Pray: Ask God how you can be involved in his story and for the courage to reach out and invite someone to church.