Think of 3 people who might enjoy, benefit from, or be looking for a place like St. John’s. Pray for them. Look for ways to invite them. Send them a link to the church website or offer to meet them here to show them around. Definitely try to bring them on November 6, when our worship and fellowship will be at its very best—it will be a great opportunity to introduce our neighbors to the many things that make our church special. Your invitation allows us to live into our mission and God’s call “to welcome all people into this community of faith”.
The act of inviting others to church is one of the most authentic expressions of spiritual life we can make – it is, at its best, an expression of gratitude, hope, and love. Many, if not most of us, in church, have experienced a deep sense of God’s presence, spiritual transformation, welcome, inclusion, grace, and love in our life in church – perhaps it was at our confirmation or when one of our children was baptized, or maybe it was during a stirring sermon or a Sunday when the music spoke to a place of deep need in our lives, or maybe it happened slowly over time as we deepened our connections to other Christians or lived with the liturgy over the years. These experiences are an immense gift to us, and they have helped shape us into deeper, wiser, more loving people. The act of inviting others to church, to our faith community, is then an invitation to share what we have found. There is a hope and a very real possibility that those we invite will experience something profound, life-giving, and deeply transformative here, in this place, with these people, this Church.
So, how do you do it? We’ve got some tips for you that might help you practice the work of invitation.
1. Invitation doesn’t have to be awkward. Let it come from a place of authenticity.
2. Listen for what others need. When a friend is hurting – point them to a place you know offers healing. When a colleague is searching – tell them about this community that helps you find your way in the world. When a neighbor expresses their loneliness, offer to connect them with this place of welcome.
3. Remember what your faith community means to you. Invitation just takes a willingness to listen, to offer something real, and to know in your own heart the gift that your church has already been to you.
* Of course inviting people to church doesn’t have to be awkward. Most people would be as delighted to be invited to church as they would be to be invited to your home for a meal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXSihlfcQUA
* Soren’s story highlights the transformative power of being a part of a church community. Soren’s family was invited to be a part of an Episcopal Church at a time when they needed love and support. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/video/sorens-story
* People are looking for church for all kinds of reasons. Some have been rejected by other churches for who they are, and the Episcopal Church provided a safe and welcoming sanctuary where they could practice and grow in their faith. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/video/episcopal-moments-jennifer-caldwell