I don’t invite people to attend our church.
Does that seem strange to you?
It’s not because I don’t want people to come. I do. We don’t turn people away. We feel incredibly blessed whenever someone chooses to gather with us.
It’s also not because we want to keep our congregation as small as possible. I look forward to the day when people from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people gather to worship our God together in unity. Worshiping among the multitude that no one can number is going to be awesome. Truly.
But inviting people to church is putting the cart before the horse. It has deep implications on our gatherings. I believe it’s harmful.
So, I don’t invite people to come to our church. I invite people to come to Christ.
The term “church” in the Bible is not the same thing as most people think of when you say “church” today. People think about the building.
When most people “invite someone to church” it is very literally an invitation to come to a building. But why would a non-believer want to come to a building? Is there anything for them to do there?
Supposedly our buildings are assembled so that the people of God can gather together to worship God. But non-believers don’t want to worship God. By nature they are in rebellion against God and living for their own agenda rather than the glory of their Creator.
So, what does the “invite to our building” mentality lead to? It leads to catering the activities in the building to appeal to the people we are inviting. People who don’t want to worship God or submit themselves to Him. People who are going their own way.
We sing less songs about the glory of God and the blood of Christ. We sing more about ourselves and what we want God to do for us. We may even sing popular songs that have nothing to do with God at all.
We focus less on the costly aspects of following Christ. We focus more on the benefits.
We diminish long, patient exposition of the teaching of all of Scripture. We emphasize media and entertainment.
We downplay the biblical themes of endurance, suffering, sacrifice, and self-denial. We feature fun activities, programs, and events.
All of this makes me very uncomfortable. How about you?
The Bible teaches us to worship God in spirit and in truth with other believers who want to do the same. We are not called to dilute our worship. We must avoid influence by the interests and agendas of those who are still hostile to God. We must focus on God not on the flesh.
Church gatherings are for the the worship of God and the edification of believers. When believers disperse back into the world we are commanded to continue worshiping God and to evangelize.
The “invite to the building” mentality completely reverses the biblical ideal. It makes the gathering be a place where non-believers can be entertained and possibly evangelized.
This is why I don’t invite people to our building. Instead, our church fellowship focuses on inviting people to Christ. We focus on edifying the believers who willingly gather to worship and be built up for the purpose of walking with Jesus until the end.
In the world we invite people to repent and put their faith in Jesus. We do this during the normal everyday course of our lives. We do it in our neighborhoods, work places, and families. We even go into the highways and byways to declare the goodness of our God.
This was the model of the Apostle Paul. It was how he encouraged the believers in Colossae to model their own lives even though he had never met them personally.
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. (Colossians 1:28)
We (followers of Christ) are not called to go and invite everyone to our building.
We are called to proclaim Jesus. We are called to admonish everyone, warning them of the consequences of continuing to go their own way. We are called to teach everyone with all wisdom.
We don’t do this so we may present everyone complete by having them join our organization. We do this so that we may present everyone complete in Christ.
Do you invite people to church? Or do you invite them to be reconciled to God through His Son?
These invitations are not the same.