I don’t pretend that inviting someone to come to church is an easy task. I know that it can feel like you’re crossing a line that can’t ever be uncrossed. It feels like you’ll be risking your friendship with this person if you do. You worry that you’ll make things awkward and you’ll have to start ducking behind the water cooler or pretend you’re too into your cell phone to make eye-contact.
I know how it feels because I have the same feelings. It’s hard to ask someone with whom I’m close to do something that they might have some kind of aversion to. We’re worried we are being a bad friend if we cross that line and make it awkward.
But, then I had this thought. What if we asked anyway? What if we got over our insecurities and excuses and asked anyway. What if we stopped looking for every reason NOT TO ask and just found one reason TO ask.
You know what I think? I think we’d all be surprised with who would want to come.
For starters, I think there are a lot of people who want to go to church, but there are so many to choose from that they don’t know where to start. And by being a friend that asks, you could be helping them get over that hurdle.
I also think that many think of church in ways they have seen in movies or on TV and now how it actually is. They view it as the spit-fire preacher asking for a one time gift of $500 dollars and they’ll get a nice gold plated eagle as a thank-you. Or they view it as the little white building with pews full of old-ladies with blue hair. And I suppose some might think it will be like a scene from Sister Act. What they need is for you to invite them and tell them what our church is really like. Tell them about how we dress and what the music is like. Tell them about the coffee, the chairs instead and that we won’t guilt them into giving their money. Tell them they don’t have to be perfect to come, they can come as they are and they’ll be loved that way too.
Then there’s this: what if they’re waiting for you to ask? What if they want to find a church community to plug into, and are just waiting for you to ask? What if they’re wondering about this “Jesus” thing, and they know you go to church?
What kind of friend are we being if we know something that could save their life for all of eternity and we’re afraid to ask because it might get awkward?
What if inviting your friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker, grocery checker, barista, hair-stylist, trainer or boss is the best thing you can do for them? What if the thing that seems like it’s the biggest hurdle to overcome is actually the most rewarding thing we’ll ever do for that person?
So, with Christmas weekend coming, what if we just asked. What if we took a risk and just asked? All we need to say is: “my church is having a cool Christmas service on Sunday at 10. Want to come?” or “Why don’t you come check out what our church is doing on the night before Christmas eve? Then you can spend Christmas eve with your family!”
If it feels like a big risk, it will also be a big reward.
What if we all got to celebrate the biggest reward we could imagine because we took the risk and asked? What if we all got to participate in the life-changing story of some of the most important people in our lives?