Let me ask you, when was the last time you invited someone to join you at church on a Sunday? Maybe it was recently. Maybe you have a friend or a co-worker you’ve been inviting for a while. Or perhaps it’s something you’ve never even considered. It could be that you’re fearful of how you might be perceived at work or among friends.
Whatever the case may be–whether you’re a regular inviter, a reluctant inviter, or a non-inviter–I want to encourage you to take heart; there are many good reasons to invite someone to church.
A Culture of Gospel Renewal
At LifePoint Church, we have taken intentional measures to partner with the Holy Spirit in order to create an unpretentious culture of wholesale Gospel renewal. That’s not to say that we have arrived at perfection. It’s to say the opposite, that we are on our way toward creating a safe place for all kinds of non-perfect people to be conformed into the image of a perfect Savior (cf. Rom. 8:29; 2 Co. 3:18). That’s what Sundays at LifePoint are all about. We believe the Gospel is that powerful.
Therefore we strive to place the Gospel front and center each week. The substance of our worship is the message that God saves sinners and inaugurates His Kingdom through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Mat. 4:23, 9:35, 24:14; Mar. 1:16; Rom. 1:16; 1 Co. 15:1-4). We sing it. We preach it. We pray it. We respond to it. It’s the best News in the world. Always has been. Always will be.
Sundays at LifePoint are designed to cultivate an atmosphere in which exhausted, sullen sinners can become fully human. The dynamic, Spirit-energized witness of a congregation that believes and embodies Good News provides a contrast to the bad news the world is so accustomed to. It’s where people flourish. Pastor and theologian Ray Ortlund helps us understand:
On Sunday, we walk into a new kind of community where we discover an environment of grace in Christ alone. It is so refreshing. Sinners like us can breathe again! It’s as if God simply changes everyone’s topic of conversation from what’s wrong with us, which is plenty, to what’s right with Christ, which is endless. He replaces our negativity, finger-pointing, and self-hatred with the good news of his grace for the undeserving. Who couldn’t come alive in a community that’s constantly inhaling that heavenly atmosphere? (The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ, Crossway)
That’s what the Gospel does. It re-orients sinners to reality. It clears up the polluted haze of our cynicism and self-deprecation, replacing it with clarity and beauty. We stop coddling the pet sins of our selfish hearts because we see afresh that Jesus died to destroy them. Why hold on to what has been nailed once and for all to the cross of Christ (Col. 2:15)? The absurdity of our unbelief becomes glaringly obvious. Our darling idols can’t do what God does. And that’s thrilling.
Will You Take The Next Step?
So here’s the real question, is the Gospel motivating you to make that phone call or walk across the office in order to extend the invitation? Are you compelled to call others to join you in this grace-filled environment? Can outsiders and unbelievers sense the residual effect of time you’ve spent with God’s people in a culture of Gospel renewal? If you’re answering these questions honestly, God is stirring you. Will you take the next step?
You see, through Christ’s presence among the church, grace rubs off on us in order that it might radiate, bearing witness to the life-giving power of the Gospel. In other words, the Bridegroom’s love for the Bride makes the Bride look beautiful. She turns heads when she walks down the street. That’s faith working through love (Gal. 5:6).
And if this is true of us, then inviting people to church shouldn’t be a problem. After all, the Gospel is so shareable. Therefore, as we mature in our worship of God, our excitement about inviting people to come and see how the Gospel works increases exponentially. As C.S. Lewis once pointed out, people always share and praise what they love. And for those of us who live for the praise of God, corporate worship is easy to love, making it easy to share.
Therefore, my prayer is that you will invite someone to church this week, and that God would stir them to take you up on your invitation. We can be confident, knowing that the Gospel makes a difference. It never does nothing. But we must do something. So let’s invite, invite, invite and trust God to do the rest. He is able. Are you willing?
Liturgy for Sunday, February 1, 2015:
Call to Worship: Psalm 95:1-2
Song: You Alone Can Rescue
Song: Our Jealous God (original, no link currently available)
Confession & Assurance: Galatians 4:4-6
Song: The One And The Only
Benediction: 2 Thessalonians 3:5
How to Prayerfully Respond:
1. Take a moment to praise God for His Gospel. Then, ask Him to bring someone to mind whom you can invite to church this Sunday. Pray that He will make them receptive to your invitation. Take steps toward inviting them.
2. Pray that the atmosphere of our corporate worship would be filled with God’s life-giving grace this Sunday. Ask the Lord to do a great work in our midst, making His goodness and power undeniable. Pray that everyone who is present would sense the nearness of God and respond to Him in love and adoration.