If you were off to the cinema, I’d imagine you’d ask your friend if they wanted to come along too. You might also ask if they wanted to join you going on a walk, as a plus one to a party or to come shopping with you in town. So why do we hesitate at inviting our friends to come to church?
A student worker shared this brilliant story of a girl in her student group who simply invited her best friend to come to church. Because of this, her friend found a place in which she felt like she truly belonged. This story is such a great reminder that the reaction which we get from people when we invite them to church, is often not the reaction we expect. We can think of 20 reasons why someone wouldn’t want to come to church with us, when the actual reason that they aren’t coming is just because we have never invited them.
“Last year, one of my students had a real urge to go along to church. She didn’t know why, but she just knew she needed to go. She came along to one of our services and while she was there, signed up to come along to our student weekend away, where she ended up giving her life to Jesus.’
She then invited her best friend to come along to church too. Not because her friend was a Christian or had even expressed much of an interest in faith, but just because she was her best friend. If she liked going to church and hearing more about Jesus, then why wouldn’t her best friend like coming along too? Church wasn’t something seperate from the rest of her life, it was part of her life. So if she would usually invite her best friend along to things with her, then church wasn’t going to be any different.
Her friend said yes to coming along to church, and in doing so, has found a place where she feels like she belongs; a space in which she feels safe, welcomed and loved in a way she never has before. Even though the friend which invited her has now graduated, she is still coming along and exploring more about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.”
Your friends are seeking somewhere to belong and call home.
Your friends are seeking church, even if they don’t know it.
So let’s stop treating church as a separate part of our life, or worrying how people might respond if we invite them along, and instead, let’s start inviting our best friends to come to church with us.