In the coming days Heartland Baptist Church is having a Friend Sunday. There will be no pyrotechnics, no motorcycle stunts, and no elaborate stage set. While those things may make for great entertainment, they are a cheap substitute for worship. Instead it will be a normal Sunday with Scripturally centered Bible study, God exalting worship, and a Gospel centered message. So, why have a special Sunday for inviting friends to your church? Why invite friends into the normal rhythm of Church life? I would like to answer this in the following two ways.
What it does not accomplish?
I would like to first remove some of bad motives for inviting friends to church. While I understand they may be slightly exaggerated for some individuals the temptations are still there. Other individuals have probably never thought through the subject.
First inviting your friends to church will not save them. Going to church makes you a Christian no more than going to a baseball game makes you a baseball player. While in the seats of a baseball game you may experience the rush of a full count with the bases loaded, you cannot experience the bat vibrating off your hand and the adrenaline as you run the bases. Though your friends may experience the love of Gospel communities, they may not actually experience the joy of repentance and salvation. Therefore we must not invite our friends to church to get them saved. A church service will not save anyone; only the Word of God brought by power of the Holy Spirit will change their hearts.
Secondly, inviting your friends to church is not an opportunity for the pastor to get them saved. While this may sound similar to the first reason it is slightly different. I have heard from numerous pastors about the pressures church families put on them to save their lost family members when they visit. While a faithful pastor will do his best to make the gospel clear, it is not his responsibility to save your family member. Only God can change their hearts.
Finally, inviting your friends to church is not an opportunity for the church to feel good about having full pews. Full pews don’t make for healthy churches! This is not an opportunity to rob members from other churches to come fill our pews with a promise to fill theirs later. If your friends faithfully participate in another church which is caring for their soul, then encourage them to attend their regular church home.
What it accomplishes?
If all those things are true then why invite your friends to church? Let me reassure you that it is not a pointless endeavor to invite your friends to church, however we must do so with the appropriate motives.
As we go about our lives we can begin overlooking the relationships we have around us. While there may be hurting people we encounter everyday, business can overwhelm our attention. Having a day set aside to invite individuals to church causes us to think about those people we encounter on a regular basis. It should encourage an awareness in our lives for those with whom we can share the gospel. It should also provide an opportunity for us to establish an on going evangelistic mindset.
While there is no salvation found in attending church, participation in the body of Christ is a grace of God. When we attend church we have the opportunity to tangibly feel the love of God as His body cares for one another. We can taste a glimpse of eternity as God’s people worship together. We are blessed to hear God speak to us corporately through the preaching of His Word. I could go on listing out all the many blessing we experience in our worship services, however the point is that when we invite our friends and neighbors they get a glimpse of these things as well. They get to experience the truth of God’s word in a whole new way. Their participation in the church service brings God’s Word to life before their eyes.
Finally inviting your friends to church starts a conversation which can lead to furthered relationships. God commands every believer to share the good news with those they encounter. One way to accomplish this in our society is to begin a conversation about church. A way to continue this conversation is to invite them to discuss their visit to your church. You can discuss the content of the message and allow it to build a bridge into more discussion about the gospel.
This video is a promotional video for Back to Church Sunday sponsored by Outreach.com.
Click here for a follow up post: “How to Invite Your Friends to Church?“