Matthew R. Perry

Would You Invite People to Your Church? No? Then Why Do You Go There?

In Church Life on May 18, 2007 at 1:04 pm

If it is documented proof that 5 out of every 6 people in our churches attend because someone invited them, then the question follows: “Why do we not invite more people we know to our church?”

I was confronted with this question after reading David Francis’ booklet, Invite: A Six-Lane Strategy to Sunday School. Here’s the paragraph from Chapter One entitled “Invigorate”:

Sadly, a lot of people faithfully attend churches they would never invited someone else to attend. Why is that? One reason is that they may have invested much treasure into the church and their hearts are there, just like Jesus said (Matthew 6:19-24). Often it is because of family ties. For others, important memories are linked to the church. Still others have moved away from the church, and while they continue to make the drive in on Sundays, they don’t really think others who live around them now would make that sacrifice. Some are loyal to a long-time pastor who has walked with them “in good times and bad.” These folks have decided that the reasons for staying in the church — or class — outweight the effort it would take to find and get involved in a new one. The business term for this is switching cost. It’s why you continue to go to the grocery store that carries your favorite ice cream, or the hardware store with the friendly folks, or the stylyst who has been cutting your hair for years, or the dry cleaner who occasionally messes up your order. You know the people. You know the routine. You know where to find stuff. Maybe a newer store is in town. Maybe the old store looks a little run down or the neighborhood is changing, but the cost of finding a new one — in terms of familiarity, time and relationships — is too high by comparison. At least for now. But do you tell other people about the business like you used to? Maybe you do; maybe you don’t. It doesn’t affect where you spend your money, but it may affect where you encourage others to spend their time. (pp. 7-8)

This struck me because I had one of our older members come up to me and say recently, “I’m so glad you’re here, Bro. Matt — now I feel like I can invite people to our church and know they will hear what they need to hear.”  With the implication being, “I come, yes, but I did not feel comfortable inviting others to come.”  That’s very telling, isn’t it?

What are your thoughts? Would we invite people to our particular churches? Why or why not? If you were a newcomer to your church, would you see things differently that you would in your present situation? In essence, what do you think of this article?

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  1. Matt: this is a great post and sorry to just now be responding! Buffy, my wife, has always said this is the one question to ask yourself if you are praying through whether you should leave your church for another church. After all, if you cannot invite the unchurched to your church, why are you there? This is a BIG issue and thanks for brining it to the forefront!–Don

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