You may have seen the title of this blog and thought “How to invite someone to church? How hard can that be?” You may be right in your initial thought — inviting someone to your church community should be a pretty simple thing to do! Yet, this is one area of our Christian faith that we can get a bit uncomfortable with.
The reality is, not all of us are inviting people to church. We may want to at many times, but deep down we have this fear of openly inviting strangers and even friends to our church services. This isn’t to shame you (you are not alone!) but it is to point out that just asking a question isn’t as easy as it seems.
How exactly do you invite someone to church? Before we get into the “how-to’s” of this, let’s take a step back and consider why inviting someone to church is so important.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave a commandment to His followers to make disciples of all nations. They were commissioned to go and spread the Good News of Christ throughout the world. The book of Acts gives accounts of the powerful sermons, missionary journeys, and even martyrdom of these Gospel-spreaders.
Flash forward to 2022. This same commission that Jesus gave to His followers is the same commission we are assigned to participate in. While not all of us are world-traveling missionaries, we are all commissioned to be missionaries in our areas of influence. Your workplace, school, neighborhood, and especially home are your mission fields. This is where your commissioning as a disciple begins.
You can probably tell that the Great Commission is not just about inviting someone to a church service — it is about sharing the Gospel, building relationships, and drawing people unto Jesus. We must remember that the point of inviting someone to church should not be just to get them in a church building, it is to invite them to a place where they will hear the Gospel of Jesus proclaimed.
To invite someone to church means inviting them into the very presence of the God who loves them and wants them to come home to Him.
Can you see the pressure now? A simple church invitation could be the catalyst to a radically transformed life, family, and future of the one who accepts it. Yeah, this is a huge deal! So what are the strategies for actually inviting someone to church in an effective and meaningful way? Let’s get into it!
(Just a sidenote here: this “step-by-step” process doesn’t work for every single person. Some may not want to go to coffee with you and just want to go ahead and go straight to Sunday service. Every single person is different, but this is just one method of many that can be effective as you pursue inviting people to church.)
Oftentimes when we get excited and ambitious, we plunge forward and just do the thing! But this can be a dangerous strategy when it comes to our faith life. Often we take “leaps of faith” without actually consulting the one who is the Author of our faith first.
Before we begin inviting people to our churches, we must consult the Holy Spirit in our endeavors. Without Christ, we can do nothing. Jesus cares so much more about others than we could ever care for ourselves. He sees the lost and the hurt and those who need Him. We need God to be our guide as we begin to invite these lost and hurting people.
Before inviting people, simply meet with God. Ask Him to reveal to you the people that you should invite to church. Receive His wisdom and grace in this pursuit. Seek Him above all else and He will be there to empower you to make disciples and make a true impact on those around you.
This point may feel like the most Christian thing ever (coffee shop hangouts are basically a Jesus-follower staple) but hear us out. One of the most beautiful things about our relationship with Jesus is the communion we get to partake in with Him. This isn’t just the bread and grape juice, it is the daily encounters we get to share with Him.
It is a beautiful thing to ponder that one of the last things Jesus did with His disciples is share a meal with them. They ate, drank, celebrated, and surely shared a lot of laughs. There is a certain wonder in the way that God chooses to spend time with us.
This is a practice we can carry into our lives now as Christians. A simple meal or cup of coffee is not just food and drink, they are an opportunity to commune with others.
Before just inviting someone to Sunday service, consider developing a relationship with them outside of the 4 walls of the church. In these moments, you will get the opportunity to not just share your story, but to hear their experiences too.
The Gospel message is one that we all can share. We may not do it on a stage, but we can do it over a cup of good coffee.
Once a relationship has been established, you can move toward actually inviting them to your church building. Some people may be a bit leery of attending a Sunday service, especially if they have never been to one or haven’t been to one in a long time. This can be an intimidating and scary situation for many people.
If you have done well in developing a relationship with them, the next logical step would be to invite them to hang out outside of just coffee or dinner. Luckily, your church is bound to have events going on outside of just Sunday service. These events can be the launching pads for actually getting someone into your church on Sunday.
Community events are one of the most effective things a church can do to reach those that are outside of its existing community. These events are more relaxed and allow attendees to get a glimpse at the church’s life and atmosphere.
It’s easy enough — invite your friend, co-workers, or relative to a special church event or service! Not only will they get a glimpse at the church but they will also get to know other believers who are a part of your community. It’s a win-win!
Now that we’ve developed healthy relationships both individually (and hopefully communally), a natural transition should be to invite them to church. The cool thing about this step? You may not even need to ask! The person you’ve been growing with may naturally decide on their own to attend church with you. We may be too quick to overlook the effectiveness of our kindness to others. It is the light of Christ working in us to draw others in!
If they don’t bring up church, casually bring up church service in your regular conversation. It can be as simple as “I am really excited about church this weekend. Would you like to come with me?” or “I know you’ve been struggling with that thing for a while, we have been talking a lot about that at my church. Would you want to come and learn more?”
One of the keys here is that when you invite this person to church, it is good to be there with them. Imagine inviting someone to a concert only to have them sit in the balcony and you be right in the pit in front of the stage. It would feel super awkward because when you’re invited somewhere, you expect the person who invited you to be actively attending alongside you!
If they do decide to attend, be prepared to follow up. Ask them to hang out again to hear their thoughts, feedback, and even reservations about their time at church. This is a great way to show this person you genuinely care about their experience. Then after this, be consistent in your invitations. You don’t want to be a spammer, but try to invite them at least once a week to church. When this consistency comes from a good place of love, it has a major impact!
Inviting someone to church is never as cut and dry as this blog lays out. You may spend months developing a relationship with someone only to have them never accept your church invitation. Do not let this discourage you.
Remember, the goal is not so much church attendance as it is relationship building. You may be the only person they hear the Gospel from for a long time. But your consistency, steadfastness, and love for them can work many wonders!
So now, who are you going to extend the invitation to?
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