Most people love receiving invitations. To a party. A meal. A wedding. A celebration. A special event. It’s nice to be included – to feel part of something. It’s good to know that you belong.
But many don’t feel like they belong. They feel lonely. In fact we live in a lonely society. That’s why Mother Theresa is right when she famously said: ‘The greatest disease today is not starvation but loneliness.’
People want to be included. They want to be invited. That’s because we’re made by God to live in community – in families, in homes, with a network of friends. That’s a massive part of what church is about. And that’s why all the evidence shows that most people today belong before they believe. They want to see what kind of community we are, before they commit to the head of the community, Jesus Christ.
I believe that personal invitation is where the future of the Lord’s church lies. As a method of contacting and influencing seekers, it is Number 1. The Institute for American Church Growth asked over 10,000 church-goers this question: What was responsible for your coming to Christ and this church? The report indicated that 79% said a friend or relative invited me. And how are they going to come to church unless someone invites them? You see, invitation is crucial. That’s the power of invitation.
This is a very important month for us here at IKLC. It marks our annual Family and Friends’ celebration. We will have special singing, dance, food and we will be honoring great achievers in our community. It should be great – as long as people come. But they will only come if they are invited. If they’re not invited, they won’t experience the warmth of the IKLC family or the wonder of the gospel of Jesus. They need to be invited. That’s the power of invitation.
In John chapter 1, Philip meets Jesus and decides to follow him. He then wants his friend, Nathaniel to meet Jesus too – maybe like you want your friend, or your family member, or your work colleague, to meet Jesus. So what does Philip do? He tells his friend that he’s found someone amazing – Jesus Christ. But Nathaniel isn’t sure and so Philip replies: ‘Come and see.’ He invites him. Simple as that. And Nathaniel agrees and meets Jesus and his life is transformed. But it wouldn’t have happened unless Philip had invited him. Remove the invitation and Nathaniel would not have met Jesus. That’s the power of invitation.
But how does God normally invite people? On occasions, he just intervenes and sovereignly does it himself. But normally he does it through his hands and his feet – his body. The church. That’s how he operates. Through you and me.
So, who are you inviting? Have you got your invitations? Are you giving them away? Are you praying for invitation opportunities this week? Because this is the time to invite. This is the time to maximize the power of invitation!