I received a message a few days ago from my pastor. He wanted me to know that a man that my dad had worked with had passed away. I remember dad telling me about this man years ago. He said that they were in his office one day and dad asked, “Jimmy, where do you and your family attend church?” Jimmy said, “We don’t attend church, I’m not a religious man.” Over the next few years my dad kept inviting and encouraging. Finally a few years ago he showed up at church. Last fall he was saved. Yesterday morning he was baptized and that afternoon he died and flew to glory. Lifeway Research surveyed 2930 Protestant Church goers. Here are the results:
- 80% agree: “I have a personal responsibility to share my religious beliefs about Jesus Christ with non-Christians.
- 61% have not shared how to become a Christian with anyone in the past 6 months.
- 48% have not invited anyone to church in the past 6 months.
- 20% rarely/never pray for people who are not professing Christians.
- 8% are hesitant to let others know they are Christians.
- 75% feel comfortable sharing their belief in Christ with someone else.
What does this tell us? It says that churchgoers believe in Sharing Faith, but most never do. I am not sure what the average is today, but I heard some years ago that it took about 40 of us to win one soul to Christ. We have conversations every day with people about subjects that have no eternal value. Yet we have in our hearts and in our lives the live changing message that can set people free.
Research tells us that inviting people to church is one of the most effective forms of outreach. Plus, as a strategy, it also holds these benefits compared to many others:
- It’s easy to teach
- It requires no significant training or skill
- Opportunities to exercise the strategy are near endless
Consider this from Dr. Thom Rainer in his book, The Unchurched Next Door.
- 82% of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited.
- Most people come to church because of a personal invitation.
Now those two things alone ought to at least make you think. Take a breath now and consider this:
- 7 out of 10 unchurched people have never been invited to church in their whole lives
In the midst of our affinities we can control gospel conversations. We can share the good news, we can invite people to church and small groups. The bottom line is we can never give up on friends and family. Let’s keep those conversations headed to the cross.