3 Ways NOT to Invite a Friend to Easter Sunday
- Malinda Fuller Author
- 2016 18 Mar
Chances are if you are part of a local church, then you are aware of the surge of visitors who will walk through your doors on Easter weekend. If you are part of a larger church, there are probably teams of people who have been brainstorming and planning for weeks, if not months, for this exceptional event. Choirs, plays, guests speakers, artists, video, and music—everyone is gearing up for one of the busiest “church days” of the year.
Appeals have been made to you and everyone else in your fellowship to “bring a friend” to church for Easter. Hopefully, that means you have already been thinking about neighbors, co-workers, family and friends that you want to be with you on Resurrection Sunday.
Taking the bold leap of sharing your faith is always rewarding. Inviting someone to join you for a service takes incredible courage, however, there are several things to consider as you move forward with your plans.
First, let’s talk about what not to do:
1. Don’t leave a pamphlet on their door, windshield or tucked into their mailbox. That’s such a cop-out. Be bold, put it in their hands. Or better yet, forget the marketing piece (it’s so formal) and bring it up in a natural conversation. We are inviting them to something much more personal than a casual religious service. And what we hope is that they will experience the reality of Jesus and choose a relationship with Him. So, why wouldn’t the invite also be personal?
2. Don’t leave them alone. Ideally meet them in the parking lot and walk them in the front door. Sit next to them and introduce them to other people. Don’t just point them in a direction, walk them to the kids area, or the coffee bar. Show them that they are more than just “another visitor.” They are your friend and you care about them feeling welcomed and comfortable, not just present.
3. Don’t invite people to your church that you haven’t invited into your home. Are they a friend, or merely an invite in order to check the box: “Invite someone to church”? If they are a friend, then chances are you know their story. They’ve been in your home and you’ve shared a meal with them. They have seen your faith in action by how you live your life and there has been some sort of conversation prior to the invite. Why would you bring them into your place of worship if you haven’t brought them into your home?
Now that those things are out of the way, here is how we do it right:
1. Set up the invite. You know Easter is coming; it’s not sneaking up on you. Plant seeds early. Start the conversation some time before Saturday night. (And please, do it with enthusiasm and excitement. If you aren’t looking forward to Resurrection Sunday, why would they?)
2. Prepare them. If they’ve never stepped foot inside a church, or if it’s been a long time, ask if they have questions or concerns. If they have children, let them know about any children’s programs and make sure that drop-off process is smooth. Ask them if they have any questions and give them an idea of the length of service, what to wear and what to expect.
2. Follow up. Best plan: sit with them during the service and either enjoy a meal together (or coffee) after. Send them a text, or actually call them later in the day, not to badger them with questions, but just to extend a genuine appreciation that they joined you. There is no ask in this conversation; it’s just to say, “I’m glad you came.”
As believers, we are always pushing Christianity as relationship over religion and yet we tend to get it wrong with the delivery. If we aren’t building relationships with unbelievers on a regular basis, in a natural non-threatening way, why would they ever accept an invite to service? Do we really care about them as people—about their marriages and kids and businesses?
We all want to be known. We want to feel heard and safe and accepted. This is our job. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to draw them (at whatever pace He wants to) to Jesus. It is our place to give them space, answer questions and live in an authentic way that, “others may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” Matthew 5:16 NIV.
You are a part of their journey, not the Savior. Be in their life, as a friend, regardless of what they thought or if they ever go back with you to another service. Be the light and salt in their life, water the seeds planted, love them. And remember, God does work we cannot see.
This Easter, let’s excitedly bring people with us into a conversation first. Let’s live out the hope and joy of Easter and invite them to church with us.
Malinda Fuller and her husband Alex have served at several churches and para-church organizations in the U.S. and Canada for over a decade. Malinda wields truth and grace through the words on her blog and has also contributed content for Relevant, Thrive Moms and The Influence Network. Malinda and Alex currently reside in Southern California, where they are homeschooling their daughters, working in ministry and trying to not complain about the continuous sunshine.
Publication date: March 18, 2016