“But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25)
Coffee on A Sunday Morning
Early one Sunday morning, I stopped by Starbucks on my way to LifePoint’s facility. As I swiped my credit card to pay for my coffee and muffin, I asked the barista working the counter if she was having a good morning. To my surprise, she responded, “Honestly, not really. I’m kind of dreading today. I hate working Sunday mornings. It’s when people are the rudest. Shouldn’t people who go to church be nicer?”
A little embarrassed about being on the way to church myself, I responded by telling her that she was right. Christians should be the kindest people in the world because of the kindness we’ve received from God in Christ (Eph. 2:7). Then I handed her a church card and invited her to LifePoint, saying, “I belong to a congregation here in Ozark. We aren’t perfect, but we love Jesus and we’re passionate about sharing Him with others. If you’re ever interested in joining us, we’d love to show you how the Gospel works among a community of sinners saved by grace.” She thanked me for the invitation and told me she’d think about coming sometime.
An Ordinary Invitation
Pretty un-climactic, right? God didn’t perform any signs through me. I didn’t share the Romans Road. Shoot, I didn’t even “close the deal” and ask her for a response (though I’m not against that). Instead it was an ordinary, no-pressure invitation to come and witness the power of the Gospel firsthand.
Here’s the thing, I believe God can work remarkably through the ordinary act of inviting someone to church. In fact, this is what the apostle Paul was getting at in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 (quoted above). The prophetic witness of a worshiping community can have a profound impact upon someone who’s far from God. Paul reminds us that the Spirit’s work among the gathered church has real potential to resonate with outsiders, causing them to bow down and worship Jesus by faith.
And at LifePoint, we’re confident in God’s power to save. We’ve seen how powerfully He can work among us, which is why we’ve created a resource for our congregation to invite people to church on Easter Sunday.
As you’ve probably noticed, our facility is littered with little blue cards that say “First Importance” on them. We’re challenging you to take those cards and use them to personally invite 4 or 5 people to come to LifePoint on Easter Sunday. In fact, here are four simple things you can do to make the most of those cards in the weeks leading up to Easter.
(1) Pray for opportunities
Jesus told us to pray to the Lord of the harvest (Mat. 9:38). So ask Him to put people on your heart and to provide opportunities to connect with lost people as you go about your day. And ask Him to give you wisdom to recognize an opportunity when it presents itself.
(2) Connect with others
You can be confident that God will put people on your heart and in your path. When He does, take a step of obedience. Connect with them. Learn about their lives. Prayerfully figure out how you can meet them where they are, so you can be a loving witness for the Gospel.
(3) Pray for those you’ve invited
Ask the Spirit to prompt them to take a risk and come to church. Easter Sunday at LifePoint will be powerful. So pray that God will work mightily through our gatherings to bring them to faith in Christ.
(4) Prepare for Sundays
You’re a member of Christ’s Body. God has gifted and arranged you among LifePoint as He chose, so that you might share in the prophetic witness of His people (1 Co. 12:18). But that kind of witness doesn’t happen by accident. We aren’t going to stumble into it. No, we must cultivate our hearts and be ready to receive from the Lord. That’s how we become a congregation that gives unbelievers a compelling reason to declare, “God is really among you!”
So as we gather and are sent to make Jesus known, let’s fan into flame the gift of God that is in us (2 Ti. 1:6), making ourselves ready to give a reason for the hope that we have (1 Pet. 3:15).