Ok, I get it already! I can see that Andrew, Phillip, and the woman at the well all invited someone to come experience time with Jesus. I also get that Jesus is a center of any church, the main dish of the meal, the driving reason behind our love of God and others….Sidenote: If Jesus isn’t the center of your church…you may want to change locations! Seriously...
So you can put 2 + 2 together and understand that
OK…. But I also know many people think, "This is the real world, over 2000 years after those guys first met Jesus. It's not THAT easy!"
People have lots of reasons for why they can’t share what they have experienced with Jesus, why they have a hard time telling others, why it's difficult to invite people to church. Two of the reasons I hear often are:
- "I don't know who to invite!"
- "I don't know what to say!"
In John 1:35-42, Andrew finds his brother Peter and invites him to meet Jesus.
In John 1: 43-49, Phillip finds his friend Nathaniel and, even after receiving some push back, invited Nathaniel to “come and see” Jesus for himself.
And in John 4:7-42, the woman at the well invites a bunch of people from the town.
Even though they invited different people - a brother, a friend, and a bunch of people from the town - they all had something in common.
They each knew people who were searching for something missing in their lives. People looking for something important. Something like hope, freedom, healing, direction, leadership, prosperity, inclusivity, or something else missing from their lives. People, that through previous conversations, it was understood were looking for same type of things that they were looking for.
Who do you invite?
So, who are the first people we should invite? Those we are closest to and share a lot in common, like family, or friends that are so close they are like family.
Then next people we should invite? Someone we know somewhat but we share some things in common, like friend or neighbor or co-worker.
Then next, we should invite someone we have a few things in common with, like those in our neighborhood, those whose kids attend the same school as our own, people who are in the same clubs or civic organizations with us, etc.
Now, what do you say?
In each one of the stories, the person only told what they experienced and found out for themselves when they spent time with Jesus.
When inviting people to church, don’t tell them what other people experienced. Tell what you personally experienced. “I saw this…” “I heard this….” “I did this….” “I learned this…” “I felt like this….”
Basically tell what you understand to date. Even if you have only been there a short time. Because people don’t want to go to a place you suggest, if you haven’t tried it yourself.
Found people find people.
Oh, and one last thing. Make a personal VERBAL invitation and then offer to bring them with you…
Try it and see for yourself.