In 1976, the Hatcher family from Wildwood invited me to go to the Wildwood Assembly of God on a Sunday morning. Believe me, as a junior in college, church was the last place that I wanted to be. However, I said yes. It’s kind of funny now when I think about it…I was going to go just one time to get Mrs. Hatcher off of my back.
Mrs. Hatcher insisted that I ride to church with the family and when we got there I had no idea that this church could be so different from the one I grew up in. I LOVED IT! I immediately felt at home and that I was welcome. From that day on I would attend church Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night when I could. It would be a year before I would accept Christ into my heart on a youth retreat but when I did …
Within a year I was mixing sound for the services and next I was assisting the youth pastor and when he resigned his position I would assume it for at least a year. A YEAR BECAME 21 YEARS of serving under four senior pastors and playing all kind of roles in full time ministry…ALL BECAUSE SOMEONE TOOK THE TIME AND CHANCE TO INVITE ME TO GO TO CHURCH!
I think one of the best things we could do to reach out to those on the outside of God’s church would be simply to:
• Invite them to church (more than once until they respond…Mrs. Hatcher was relentless until I went),
• Let them ride with you or you ride with them or meet them at the front door at a specified time,
• Introduce them to members of your church family,
• Get them coffee and something to eat
• Sit with them, tell them what to expect, explain what’s happening from beginning to end,
• Go with them to eat after church and ask them what they thought and answer their questions,
• Tell them why you call this place YOUR CHURCH!
• Invite them to come back again...and repeat all of the above.
You never know what might happen. If you never invite them and never get them to attend…I’ll tell you what will probably happen…NOTHING!
We should invite someone to church every time we attend! Not everybody will stay…but some will…I DID! And 34 years later I am so glad that Mrs. Hatcher invited me!