According to David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, a recent survey revealed that less than a third (31%) of Christians were planning on inviting a friend who doesn’t normally go to church to attend Easter worship with them this year.
While the results of this survey probably shouldn’t be surprising, it is all the same rather discouraging. Perhaps this is why so many of our denominations, not to mention our local churches, are slowly declining year by year. Somehow, we seem to have lost our will to evangelize.
It’s not that we don’t want unchurched people to come to church. We do. If asked, most of us will say we are for it. But, we don’t want to be the ones to do it. We don’t actually want to ask someone to come to church with us. We’re afraid to invite someone to church. Which likely means we’re also afraid to share our faith and tell them about Jesus.
That’s problematic considering that surveys regularly report that somewhere between 80% and 90% of all new Christians first came to church because they were personally invited by a friend or relative.
To put that in perspective, advertising such as direct mail regularly accounts for less than 2% of all new people. A pastor’s invitation is around 6%. Evangelism programs like the Alpha Project weigh in at about 6% as well.
All of which means that the personal invitation of a friend or family member is the single most effective way of getting someone to come to church, let alone introducing them to the Christian faith.
Sadly, only a third of all Christians feel up to doing that. The rest seem willing to leave it to the pastor or a direct mail advertising blitz.
If we’re going to be the church God has called us to be, we’re going to have to get over our fears and invite our friends and family to church, for Easter or any other Sunday. Even if we don’t invite them to church, we need to find the courage to tell them about Jesus.
So, that said, who are you inviting to church this week?