Leaders, set a vision for the congregation and you to personally invite this Christmas. Emphasise it, repeat it and sermonise on it. Commit to this vision.
If you are a leader then lead by example. This is what modelling sounds like when you are a church leader: ‘I am inviting someone, will you?’
By all means send the annual church Christmas leaflet to your local area. But remember to also take invitations down to a one-to-one level. Personal invitation is always more effective than mass mailings.
4. The gift of friendship
Many of us see friendship as ordinary, but friendship is extraordinary. Pick up the phone this Christmas and invite a friend.
5. The power of story
I always ask, ‘And what was the name of the person who invited you?’ When we tell our faith stories, let’s celebrate the inviters in our lives – the brave person who grasped the nettle.
6. Ask God who he might want us to invite
Who has God been preparing for this, in your life? Who is he asking you to invite this Christmas?
7. Practice the question
Practice the nine words that can change a life: ‘Would…you…like...to...come…to…church...with...me?’
Pray. We could pray for our own courage to invite, for those we are inviting, for other congregational members and the people they are inviting. Pray for your church leader and those planning and delivering your Christmas services.
9. Make the invitation
Whether the person accepts or not is God’s part of the process, not yours.
10. Walk or drive with them to church
Once your friend has said ‘yes’ to the invitation, go and pick them up. Walking or driving with them is as much part of being church as is the act of worship.
11. Introduce them to your friends over food or coffee
It is easier to help someone to break into the life of the church family once they have met others in your community.
12. Assume your friend is coming next week
Assume your friend is coming next week, or to another service or event at the church, and invite them again. ‘Shall we do this again next week?’
Michael Harvey helped start the Back to Church Sunday movement and is author of Creating a Culture of Invitation in Your Church (Monarch). To read his cover piece for Premier Christianity magazine click here.