What if we were committed to inviting others into the presence of God. What if we took the reconciliation of God seriously. As a community it is our job to be real and to demonstrate what this life-in-kingdom looks and feels like:
In the words we use. That we refuse to gossip and slander others. We encourage and when needed confront. In the truth we tell and the lies we refuse to tell.
And in the compassion and love we show. That we demonstrate our allegiance to Jesus by the way we act like him. In the way we accept and welcome outcasts. How we care for those that society treats as the least and the last.
Who will you invite?
The following are some helpful ideas on how to invite from James Bryan Smith’s book, The Good and Beautiful Community:
1. Pray – ask God to send someone, to bring them to mind. It may be a stranger you are about to meet in a supermarket or a friend you’ve not sen for ages on the street. Maybe someone on your heart right now. Pray for an opportunity.
2. Watch – look out for God to answer the prayer. Look with eyes of compassion. Look for opportunities. Look for divine appointments.
3. Reach out – Invite them for coffee or ask non-threatening, non-coercive questions, like “what’s going on in your life at the moment”. This is not a PR or marketing exercise. Don;t treat people as a ‘project’. Make a ‘friend’. This is simply reaching out to another traveller and asking them how things are going.
4. Listen – take time to hear what they are really saying. What is going on in their life. What are their hopes and dream, their struggles and hassles. To listen is to show love.
5. Connect – ask yourself, “how does their situation connect with what you know about Jesus?” Where is there hope in their life? Try to connect their life with the good news that you know, without preaching. Without manipulation.
6. Share – at some point, tell them your story. Where do you find hope? Share the hope you have with grace and gentleness. You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’ and shouldn’t argue. Be open and honest about the life you have found in Jesus that you now live. Tell your story. Let them see how you live as a follower of Jesus.
7. Invite – let them know that church is for people like them. That they are welcome at our Sunday Morning Gathering. However, it may be that coming on a Sunday is way too religious or churchy. Invite them to a social gathering or a community project or a life group.
Who will you invite?
The following is the full talk from our Sunday Morning Gathering on 22nd Sept 2013: