hospitality

How to Invite Someone to Church

How to Invite Someone to Church

An encouraging study by Lifeway Research found that two-thirds of churchgoers invited someone to church in the last six months.[i] When was the last time you invited someone to church? What would it look like for you to increase those efforts?

Inviting someone to church isn’t, of course, a substitute for evangelism, but it sure is a great partner in our evangelistic efforts. Similar to our homes, our churches ought to be a place that, while they are primarily for the gathered body of Christ, are also always welcoming to the outsider.

Diana Davis had an excellent post at Lifeway that spurred me to consider ways that I can better engage those God has put in my life with the gospel and be more active in inviting them to church.[ii] I’ve tweaked and whittled her list of 52 down to 17. They are a good challenge for me, and I hope they will be for you as well.  

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      According to Research People With "Too Many Interests" Are More Likely to Be SuccessfulThis is really interesting and runs against the prevailing wisdom, "The warning against being a generalist has persisted for hundreds of years in dozens of languages. 'Equipped with knives all over, yet none is sharp,' warn people in China. In Estonia, it goes, 'Nine trades, the tenth one — hunger.' If being a generalist is an ineffective career path, why do 10+ academic studies find a correlation between the number of interests/competencies someone develops and their creative impact?"

2.      How to Move from Bitterness to Forgiveness: Roger Barrier responds to an important question that plagues so many. He begins his post with this advice, "Don’t minimize the hurts in your life. Mourn your hurts. Express them to a trusted friend or spouse and allow you to be comforted. Jesus died for those hurts. Talk honestly about them. Who has hurt you the most? With whom have you not reconciled? Who does the Holy Spirit bring to your mind when you think hurtful thoughts? Jesus said, "Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

3.      What Does it Mean to Be Baptized in the Spirit? Clear and helpful post by Adriel Sanchez. He reflects, "Understandably, people typically focus on the miraculous signs that accompanied the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. In doing so they often miss the big picture the Bible gives us with regard to this significant event in the history of salvation. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not primarily about speaking in tongues but about the beginning of a new creation, the advancement of a new temple, the giving of a new law, and the commissioning of a new group of prophets."

4.      How History's Revivals Teach us How to Pray: This is inspiring. Davis Thomas reflects on a very different sort of prayer than most of us are accustomed to, "I was confronted with how the Bible appears utterly unfamiliar with casual prayer, prayer of the mouth and not the heart. Travailing prayer—the kind of burdened, focused pressing my friends in the Hebrides described—seemed closer to the heart of prayer in Scripture. A stream of this manner of praying flows from the early church all the way through the Reformation."

5.      The Best Weapon is an Open DoorRosaria Butterfield on just how significant hospitality is. She concludes, "Perhaps our everyday lives would reveal that the hand of God reaches into the hardest situations imaginable and that nothing is impossible with God. Hospitality is the ground zero of the Christian life."

Chocolate Chip Cookies for Appetizers

Chocolate Chip Cookies for Appetizers

Ben works at a local sandwich shop called Baggins near our church. Every time I set foot in his Baggins I know I will leave happier than when I walked in. Baggins gives away a free freshly baked chocolate chip cookie with every purchase. Brian takes that a step further.

After you order, it probably takes five minutes for your food to come out. I’ve never been to Ben's Baggins and not been offered a warm chocolate chip cookie by a smiling Ben before my meal is up. Chocolate chip cookies as appetizers. Yes, please.

There are several other Baggins locations across town. But there’s only one Ben. Offering cookies to customers while they’re waiting for their order is his idea. Brian moves through the tables with a smile and a tray and asks how your day is going. He asks customers if he can refill their drinks. This isn’t a sit down restaurant. Ben doesn’t get tipped. He’s tipping the customer.

Do you know what restaurant I frequent disproportionately? Baggins. I’ve joked with our Exec Team that we need to have Ben come in and train our Welcome Team. I’m only half-joking. There is something powerful in his combination of kindness and hustle. Something inspiring about his level of ownership. In fact, it was only recently that I realized Ben wasn't a manager. I just assumed he had to be.

When people interact with me, do they leave feeling as special as Ben makes me feel?