With the celebration of Easter weekend upon us, it is one of the last fledgling touch points in our post- Christian culture for unchurched people to engage with a Christian celebration. This means that more than any other time of the year, Easter is one of the best times to leverage the opportunity to invite people in your life to come to church and experience the Good News of Jesus. Christmas is another good touch point, where people would be more open than an average week to do something “traditional” like come to church, but because it is more often full of family obligations, Easter Sunday tends to be a great time to invite people who would not normally be interested in church, to come and check it out.
So, how do you invite someone to church without making it weird?
- Holidays and Cultural Touch Points
Like I’ve said above, there are still a few times a year where unchurched people are more likely to accept an invitation to church. Easter and Christmas are the most obvious examples, as often people are looking for “cultural” or “traditional” things to do at this time of year. What a great opportunity to check out church and hear the best news in the world about Jesus! They might like it so much, they return when it’s not a holiday. Other cultural touch points would be more case by case. Perhaps there was a tragedy in your town or school, and people in general are looking for ways to find hope and comfort. These are easy opportunities to segway into an invitation to church for those who would typically not be interested, and would find this to be fairly normal at these times of year.
- Special Programs for their Age and Stage
Does your church do special activities for families with young children like a carnival, or a barbeque for seniors, a lunch for business people with a speaker, or a great New Years Eve dance party for young people? These are great and easy access points for unchurched people to come to church. It gives an easy reason to invite someone to a community event that isn’t particularly “religious”, making a church entry point for them that is non threatening.
- Your own Involvement
Are you serving in a worship team? Getting baptized? Involved in an art project or special fundraiser? Friends love to support friends. If you’re involved in your church, it’s like that your curious friends and family who care for you would not find it weird to come to church to see you do something you are passionate about. Invite them to see you shine, and they might also encounter the Father of Lights!
- With Media or Print Touch Points
Does your church create any print invitations for special events, series, or services? Keep them in your wallet. Your purse. Your car. Your cubicle. Pass them out with a simple, “Hey I thought you might want to check this out!”. Does your church engage on social media? Repost or share an image or video the church has created with your own caption like, “I’m excited for this because ‘XYZ’. Would love you to join me. Details below!”. This approach is simple, not super intrusive, and adds event recognition when you also do a personal invitation later.
- By Relatable Teaching Topic
If your church goes through sermon series over the course of multiple weeks, or promotes a special speaker coming, this could be an easy touch point for someone in your life. Maybe its a series on handling money well, or on marriage, parenting, sex and relationships, science and Faith, etc. The key here is that you know the personal touch points that touch the lives of the people you love. The ultimate way to make an invitation to church not feel weird, is because you are in trusted relationship. If you genuinely know and care for those around you and are praying for them, you’ll quickly realize when an upcoming teaching topic at your church would really help them and connect to what they’re going through. If you know someone is going through the ups and downs of marriage and they’ve shared that with you, inviting them to a Sunday that is all about helping people in their marriage isn’t weird at all, it’s appreciated coming from a friend.
Whatever you may do, may you be empowered by the Holy Spirit to know when and how to invite someone to church. May you have the courage and grace to do it at every opportunity. May you remember it is God who calls people to himself, and we have the joyful invitation to participate with the work of God in the world without burden of the results. That’s up to Him!