1. Lose the Scorecard
When we first plan on inviting someone to church we can become overly focused on our goal. We might consider that conversation to be a "success" only if we were able to get to the explicit invitation portion of the conversation. Thinking like that creates barriers, shuts down natural conversation, and can keep us from meaningful encounters. As Christ followers we want to be salt and light and a source of grace and refreshment.
So what do you do instead?
2. Start Simple
Engage people where they're at, don't assume what they need, and don't predict their stories. Invite them into a two-way conversation. Be interested in what they have to say. In order to do this effectively - start simple and be open to where the conversation takes you. Here's a few simple starters:
Ex 1. "Hey, do you go to church anywhere?"
If the answer is "no" then ask why they don't go to church. Listen carefully. Accept what they have to say. See if there is an opportunity to ask "Would you be interested in coming to my church?"
If the answer is "yes" then talk about their faith with them. Remember what we said in the beginning - lose the scorecard. Find out where your friend goes to church and what they like about it. Swap stories. Maybe ask them why they go to church and see if you can ask about their faith story.
Ex 2. "Do you have plans this Easter?"
Swap plans. If they're going out of town then they won't be able to make it to your church service so don't even bother with the invite. Remember what we said at the beginning. Lose the scorecard! Be genuinely interested in hearing what your friend has to say. When it comes time to share your plans - share ALL of your plans and also let them know that you're planning on going to church and they're welcome to join you if they want to!
Ex 3. "Do you want to hang out this Easter? We could go to Church and grab lunch after?"
Let your friend know that having them fill a pew isn't your main goal. Inviting someone to church is a great opportunity for them to experience God but it's also an opportunity for you to continue building on your friendship. So why not invite them to church AND somewhere else?
Ex 3. "A few of us from work are going to church on Easter, do you want to come?"
If you can round up a few friends to come with you - make it a group activity and keep inviting more. This is certainly less intimidating for multiple visitors to all go together. If you happen to go to church with one of your coworkers this could be a great option too.
3. Try a Few Options
A face to face conversation might be difficult or uncomfortable (depending on who you're talking to and how well you know them). Consider a few different options and what might be best. Email? Text? Coffee Date? Invite card?
We'll have invite cards in the church lobby at the connection station if you're interested. This way people don't have to memorize the name of your church and could "stalk" us on social media or check out our website before they visit. People want to know what they're getting into.
Maybe you'd rather know WHY you should invite someone to church?
Why You Should Invite Someone To Church This Easter