I received the following email from Mike Lyons several years ago that bears repeating:
I have made a promise to myself. I will stop inviting people to my church.
Hear me out now.
I spent nearly a decade with my well paid job in the church trying to get people to come to church. We would develop strategies, advertising through TV, radio, print, internet, marketing plans... wowing them with worship experiences, video, dramas, amazing sermons, direct mail strategies.. on and on..whew. all designed with one aim. That when you would invite your friend, they would say yes and go to church with you. All you would have to do is invite them, they would respond to the engaging message and multi-sensory worship, become curious, eventually come to Christ, and eventually become a part of our church. The problem is, it didn't work very well.
Sure some came, just enough to make us think we were being effective. But still as the Barna Institutes research shows " The unbelieving world remains unconvinced.", and each year the Church continues to loose ground and a credibility voice in our communities.
(Disclaimer Note: I still love, support and honor any church that is doing all it can to reach out to others. God will still work through imperfect people as well as strategies.)
Allow me to be very honest. I see too many of us in the house church falling into the same trap and pattern of fruitlessness. And some are suffering unnecessarily from disillusionment. I hear the same words over and over, "If only we could get more people to come to our house church." Sound familiar? The benefits we offer are different, but the hope is the same. Please come to my church.if we could get them there they will be so captured by our Jesus through our community, intimacy, casualness, or great food... that they will accept Him and become a part of our church. Old habits die very hard don't they.
We can no longer afford to be "come here" people, we must be a "go there" kind of people.
I can honestly say that I have never invited someone to join me for coffee, lunch or breakfast and had them say no. Not ever, not once.
I'm slow but I'm learning.
Here's to forsaking old habits.
May His presence dwell in you richly,