Saturday, 16 May 2015

How to dramatically increase the chances of someone going to church

I recently ran an evangelism course that was a very enjoyable experience because it was with a church that had never done anything like that before. Meeting people who were enthusiastic as well as watching their confidence grow really excited me. I am a qualified teacher and really enjoy it very much. However, training people to witness and invite people to church tops this by a very long way.

Part of the course is practical and involves inviting people to an event. In this particular case it was for my testimony, “A Fall From The Top”. On the testimony evening the church was filled with new faces and the faithful members witnessed people commit their lives to Jesus while the Holy Spirit impacted lives in very powerful and demonstrative ways. Glory to God!

I have said many times before, that we are not all called to be evangelists, but we are all commanded to be witnesses. For some, this element of their Christian walk, it becomes a huge challenge of confidence. Added to that, some believers can also lack confidence as a result of past witnessing or invitational experiences that didn’t go well.

Key point: When someone rejects an invitation. They are not rejecting you personally, but they are simply rejecting the invitation.

The truth is that most people simply don’t like being rejected. When it happens, people can take it very personally and as a result procrastinate about doing it again. The trouble with this is the more that a person puts something off; the more difficult it becomes to do it. Sometimes, and I will use a couple of metaphors like, “When they grasp the nettle” or “Bite the bullet” and attempt to witness or invite someone to church they can do so nervously. A further rejection at this point can make it even harder to do again in the future. 

The important point to remember is that when someone rejects an invitation. They are not rejecting you personally, but they are simply rejecting the invitation.

As a sales person that was taught to cold call and prospect for appointments I was taught to love the word “No”. Because through effort and persistence, the “No’s” would turn into the word “Yes”.

I often quote a scripture when I run courses that many find very challenging, especially when I ask the students to define one word. First of all let’s consider the verse.

"Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. Luke 14: 23

The word that I focus on is to compel. I ask people to explain what it means and I always get some good answers, like push, or pull or drive. When I give the dictionary definition it gets quite a reaction. The descriptive words are to force or oblige (someone) to do something, to coerce into, pressurize into, pressure, impel, drive, press or to urge. The Vines biblical dictionary describes the word as to constrain.

I think that Jesus knew what he was talking about when He said that.

Well, how do we compel someone to come to church without making them feel forced or pressured? What could we do that would make people feel more comfortable about attending a church service or outreach event?

First off all, we need to consider how the person you are inviting may be feeling when you invite them. For many people today church is alien to them. Other than for a wedding, Christening or a funeral they would not normally set foot inside a church.

The other consideration is the often stereotypical view that people have of church services. People may think the church is full of old people, or boring, or that the place is full of people who are miserable. Another thing that Christians often forget is that some people are afraid of being converted.

There is a proven way that you can invite a person to church that will dramatically increase the chances of them actually saying “Yes”.

Recently a survey was taken in the USA regarding inviting people to come to church. These are the findings:

  • 80% (Four out of five)of people who were invited said they would be willing to go along
  • If the person was left to their own devices only 14% (Roughly one in ten) of the 80% actually went along
  • However, if the person who was doing the inviting, made arrangements and to meet to person before the service so that they could physically go into the church together, 79% of the 80% (Approximately seven out of ten actually attended).

The evidence then is overwhelming. Arranging to pick up, meet somewhere or even waiting for them to arrive outside of the church makes a significant difference.

Someone took me to church for the first time. That day my life completely changed. By making the extra effort to go the extra mile, by making people feel more relaxed and comfortable before arriving chuch or outreach event will pay dividends.

Meeting people before coming to church is MAD. In other words it makes a difference!