I was recently asked how church leaders can communicate to their congregation the significance and importance of inviting people to their church.
Maybe you can think of ways your church has done this well in the past, or maybe you’ve been trying things, and they’re not working. I don’t know that there’s a one-size-fits-all answer to “inviting,” but I can tell you from experience that sometimes going back to the basics is a good place to start.
One of the most effective ways we reinvigorated the inviting culture at our church was through an intentional teaching plan. We strategically planned a four month teaching run that looked like this:
September: 4 Week Series on The Church
This series focused on how beautiful the Church is when it’s working right. We talked about things like the reach and influence the Church has in the lives of people and our community, why a healthy church should be “adding to its numbers,” and the care and hope the Church brings to the world.
October: 4 Week Series on People
This series focused on how beautiful people can be when they really live and look like Jesus. We talked about things like breaking through the Christian stereotype, going beyond a surface faith, making God part of every aspect of your life, breaking through self-centeredness, and being salt and light in the community.
November: 4 Week Series on The One
This series focused on just how much value Jesus places on the one (lost sheep, lost coin, etc.). We were challenged to notice and engage with the people God placed in our lives whether that was our neighbor, coworker or the waitress at a restaurant. All of these people matter to God.
December: 4 Week Series on Felt Needs
This series was called “It Would Take a Miracle…” It focused on four different areas of life: fixing family issues, healing wounds, finding purpose, and restoring faith. The final week of the series on restoring faith fell on Christmas.
Throughout the entire teaching run (September – November), our pastor challenged people to be thinking and praying about who they would invite to the December series. We were all challenged during the November series to pray for one person, for one minute, at 1pm each day.
What if we all invited one person?
And, by the way, this wasn’t only a challenge for church members. Our Senior Pastor was challenging himself and the staff to get back to the basics of inviting others as well. He even shared stories about his experiences from the pulpit.
At the time, we were about 8,000 in attendance, and 2,500 new people showed up for the December series.
We found that talking about why inviting people to church matters, encouraged not only church members, but also our leadership team, to actually take practical steps towards becoming an inviting church.