We believe it’s vital that as we become fully engaged in church, we invest in the unchurched people in our lives.
We believe God uses relationships to change each of us for the better, and the reality is that we don’t experience relationships when we’re sitting in rows. Learning together is an important first step, but it’s not the only step. When you’re fully involved in the life of a church, God uses other people to help you grow, and he uses you to help grow other people.
Jesus doesn’t want the church to be an exclusive club. He wants everyone to know him and follow him. So we think it’s vital that as we become fully engaged in church, we invest in unchurched people in our lives. That doesn’t mean that we treat them as projects. It means that we genuinely care about them, get to know what’s happening in their lives, and, when the time is right, invite them to take an appropriate next step toward Jesus.
While inviting someone to church should be simple, for some reason, it is anything but simple. Here are a few simple ways to get the conversation going. These conversation starters are about real things. Don’t just say “hey my church is really cool, you should come sometime.” Go a little deeper and give people tangible reasons why this is something they really need.
Here are 5 ways to invite someone to church (many of these ideas work well with a simple text message too!) :
1. Give them a TrueLife.org invitation card
We know that inviting someone to church can be intimidating - after all, "what if they ask me something I can't answer?" To help reduce the anxiety of not knowing it all, we're excited to partner with TrueLife.org. TrueLife's answers are presented in an online video format by qualified experts in the fields of biblical studies, theology, history, philosophy, ethics and science. Using experts from across the world, TrueLife answers life’s most challenging questions through interesting and engaging video and article formats.
Invitation cards are available in the foyer.
Here's how it works:
2. The direct approach
What to say: “Hey, do you want to come to church with me this Sunday?”
Remember the conversation you start is often more important than “closing the deal.” Asking someone to come to church is going to most likely trigger a spiritual discussion. If the person starts to talk about why they don’t go to church or maybe even why they think it’s dumb, just forget about the invite. For right now, just dig in deep. Listen and empathize with them. They may have a really good reason or maybe they have no idea what it’s all about. By all means extend the invitation to come to church, but the discussion that starts is pure gold.
3. Share your story
What to say: "When I started going to church I was completely surprised how helpful it has been. I was really nervous to go to church because I didn’t know what to expect, but Piedmont Park is super welcoming and every week there is really good content that has helped me understand so much about the Bible I never understood. I think you would really find it helpful and I would love for you to join me sometime."
Honestly, this is probably your best approach at some point. People like good music and a welcoming church, but before they experience that, they are going to need someone to tell them how helpful it is to a very real person.
We have all driven by that restaurant that looks kind of interesting to us. We’ve thought about trying it, but we put it off because we don’t want to risk throwing away money at a place we don’t know anything about. Then one day it happens. Someone tells us about their experience. “Oh it’s awesome, my wife had the chicken and I had the ribeye and they were both uh-may-zing!” Well, that is all you needed to hear. It’s just a matter of time and you will be digging into a plate of deliciousness.
The world runs on personal recommendations. If someone is going to give church a try, it will only happen if they hear that it has changed your life. Put yourself out there I promise you will get their attention.
4. “Your kids are going to love it”
What to say: "Hey, my kids (or grandkids, or sister, etc..) love going to Piedmont Park. I think yours would really like it to. Every week they reinforce the same core values that I am teaching them. It’s really been a game changer for our family."
Honestly, if we never had kids I am not sure if most people would get their life together. Parents are looking for every possible way to guide their kids towards what matters most. Kids and Youth Ministries are strong connection points with people who aren’t going to church. When they see how much we care and how much their kids enjoy it, church sounds incredibly appealing to young families.
5. "Let me help you get over your fear"
What to say: "Hey would you like to come to church with me Sunday? I know going to a new church or maybe church for the first time can be intimidating, but Piedmont Park is really a great place for a visitor. Our whole purpose is about "being real". No one is going to point you out or make you feel awkward in any way. If you want to go I will meet you in the lobby and we can sit together."
This is important. Many people have an almost irrational fear of attending church. They are sure it’s going to be awkward or that somebody is going to do or say something weird. This is probably the thing that keeps most people from attending. Calming their fears is vital.
Also, being alone when they walk in is a real fear. Offer to pick them up or meet in the lobby. Shoot them a text well in advance and let them know you are going to be in the parking lot. This is critically important if the person you are inviting has ever acknowledged that they have anxiety about social situations.
So there you go, five ways to invite people to church. At the bare minimum, you will start a discussion. In fact, you might even find yourself in a pretty cool "divine appointment" set up by God!