The Christian life is a collaborative effort between a person, the triune God, and the Christian community. God never intended a person to slug through life alone. Jesus promised us we would not be orphans (John 14:18) and the New Testament writers often referred to the church in relational terms (family of God, the body of Christ, etc).
The collaborative nature of the church is important when it comes to helping people find their way back to God.
Years ago I heard Andy Stanley use the phrase “invest and invite” to describe how North Point Church builds a culture of evangelism. It basically boils down to two things:
Invest in a relationship with a non-Christian. As I wrote earlier this week, the best form of evangelism will always be friendship. If you are serious about seeing people enter a relationship with Jesus, it will cost you time, energy, and possibly money. Sometimes it will even be inconvenient. That’s the nature of true friendship. True friendship requires an investment.
The longer you have been following Jesus, the easier it becomes to have fewer non-Christian friends. Don’t let that happen to you.
Invite them to church. If you’re in South Denver, bring them to Mountainview. If not, find a church that you would feel comfortable bringing a non-Christian to. Or, to put it this way, “a church that the unchurched would enjoy attending.” Lest you think this means a watered-down, laser light show type of church … it doesn’t. In fact, most non-Christians I interact with today are not looking for fluff but answers and direction.
As a pastor, I hold as a sacred honor the opportunity to preach to your friends. I understand that you are stepping out on a limb when you invite a friend to church. The last thing you want to be is embarassed by the music or sermon. In fact, it is this very fear (and the very real chance it will happen) that keep people from inviting friends to church.
I can’t guarantee you success everytime you invite someone to church. But I can tell you that the odds greatly improve when you have invested in the relationship and have found a church that expects your non-church friends to be there.