AN INVITATION IS NOT THAT COMPLICATED

                                                                                    By:  Rev. Stephen Schmidt, Pastor

                                                                                                            Gatesville FUMC

South District

 

Read John 1:35-49 

 

As a pastor, I am often perplexed by the myriad of excuses Christians have for not inviting people to church.  After preaching a sermon in which I encouraged members to be more invitational and ask friends to join us for worship, I was met by one of the regular attendees who handed me a list of ten names.  He said, “That was a very inspirational sermon pastor, those are the names and phone numbers of all of my friends who do not attend church anywhere.  I thought you might reach out to them this week and invite them to church since I do not do that sort of thing.  I just don’t know what to say to them but I know you do. Good luck!”  His response is indicative of the fact that we all tend to overcomplicate inviting people to church and witnessing for Christ.   

 

The scripture passage for today contains four simple invitations to various people.  It begins with Jesus passing by John and a group of his followers. John says, “Look, the Lamb of God.”  Two of John’s disciples followed Jesus.  Eventually they ask Jesus, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” Jesus’ response was “come, and you will see.” 

 

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother was one of the people who followed Jesus that day.  After spending a little time with Jesus he went to find his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah,” and he took Simon to meet Jesus.  Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John.  You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). 

 

Jesus invitation to Philip was also a simple one.  “Finding Philip, Jesus said, ‘Follow Me.’” After spending a little time with Jesus, Philip went to find Nathanael and told him they had found the one that Moses and the prophets wrote about, Jesus of Nazareth.  Nathanael expressed skepticism about anything good coming out of Nazareth to which Philip simply replied, “Come and see.” 

 

“Come and See,” “We have found the one,” and “Follow Me.”  The result of each invitation was a life changing encounter with the Savior of the World.  There is nothing complicated about inviting someone to attend church with you.  It is as simple as saying, “our family’s involvement in church has made a huge difference in our lives.  Would you and your family like to attend worship with us this week?”  

Recent statistics show that 71% of people surveyed said that they would attend church if a family member, friend, or neighbor invited them.  Unfortunately, another study by Christianity Today revealed that three out of ten Christians surveyed reported they had never invited anyone to attend church.  That same survey shows that Methodists are 53% less likely to invite someone to attend church that those who are part of Assemblies of God or Pentecostal denominations.  No wonder membership in many of our churches is in rapid decline.  

 

An invitation to attend church has the power to change a transform a person’s heart and life for the better.  It offers them the opportunity to become a disciple of Jesus.  We must stop overcomplicating things and start inviting people to worship with us.  So, grab a pen and paper, make a list of your friends who do not attend church, and do not give it to your pastor.  Keep it for yourself instead, pray over it for a week and ask God to give you the opportunity to invite them. Then, develop a simple invitation and start inviting.  You will be amazed by how many will respond positively. 

 

 

 

February 19th, 2021 – Waco, TX – 9:00-3:30

REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT:

www.ctcumc.org/ES22-registration