There are two days during the year when non-Christians are most likely to attend a church service: Christmas and Easter. Those days present some of the greatest opportunities all year to reach your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors with an opportunity to share the Gospel.
This Easter, the people of The Gathering are doubling down on our evangelistic efforts to reach our non-Christian friends with the Gospel. We welcome our community year round, but this Sunday, we hope to create an environment where our neighbors can enjoy a meal with us, join us for worship, and hear a clear presentation of the good news that Jesus–the man who claimed to be God–walked out of a grave and conquered death and sin forever.
But how do you ask people to come? How do you open that conversation? How do you make the invite? Below are 4 simple tips that you can use to open a conversation and make an invite to your Easter Sunday service.
1. Spend time with non-Christians throughout the week.
Your friends aren’t projects. They aren’t objects. They’re people. Before you earn the right to invite your friends to church, spend some time showing them that you care about them as they are now.
Jesus models this pattern of evangelism in the bible; he spends more time with irreligious people than he spends with religious people. No pretense. He just spent time with them. Of course, he was intentional about how he spent his time, but he showed us that you need to spend time with people doing what people do if you’re going to be a winsome witness to the Gospel.
We Christians can sometime have a hard time relating people who aren’t “church people,” so let me give you a few practical ways that folks in the real world spend time together.
Here are a few ways you can spend time with your non-Christian friends:
- Invite your friends to your house for a meal
- Get out and do an activity together: go out to eat, go bowling, have some coffee, or grab a drink.
- Ladies? Go shopping. There’s no better way to spend one-on-one time with a girlfriend than hunting for deals together. (Or so my wife says.)
- Men? Build something together. Work on a project. Change your oil. Tear down a house.
2. Make the invite.
Jesus never assumed anything. If someone wanted to be healed, he made them ask him for it. If he wanted someone to follow him, he gave that person a clear invitation. There was no hidden agenda, no ambiguity. Jesus was a straight shooter.
Your friends probably won’t ask you if they can come along with you when you go to church. In fact, it’s probably the last thing on their minds. It’s up to you to make that invite. If you don’t open your mouth and present an invitation, you can’t expect your friends to act on it.
Be casual about it. “You’re a depraved wretch and you need some Jesus” may be theologically true, but it may not be the best evangelistic tool. Try something more along the lines of, “Hey, why don’t you come to church with us this Sunday? We’re cooking some breakfast, and we can spend some time together afterward.”
3. Spend time with them when they come.
I can’t stress this point enough. If you invite someone to church, you are probably the only person there who they know. Your friend has taken a risk walking into an unknown environment on your invitation. Don’t leave them hanging or they probably won’t come back next time you invite them.
When you arrive, show them around (be sure to point out the restrooms), introduce them to some of the people who you know, get them some coffee, and help them find a seat. Bring an extra bible in case they’d like to read along.
Remember, for the non-Christian, this is probably pretty new for them. Even for Christians, you need to remember that every church does things a little differently, and a little guidance can go a long way toward making someone feel at home.
4. Follow up after the service.
Remember point #1? Your friends are people, not projects. One of our convictions at The Gathering is that discipleship happens in relationships. It’s not your pastor’s job to carry out the Great Commission for you–every Christian is called to invest in the lives of others so that they might know Jesus. You need to be the one to follow up.
Here are a few ways that you can follow up after a friend joins you for service:
- Get lunch together after service. Ask them if they have any questions about what they saw or heard while it’s fresh on their minds.
- Invite them to your small group. You are in a small group, right? Inviting them to a casual bible study will let them learn and engage with the Word.
- Keep doing life together. Be a friend.
By investing in your friends’ lives and spending time with them, you show them that you care about them as a person and you show them that the Gospel isn’t just something you talk about on Sunday but something that transforms every area of your life.
And if you’re worried about converting your friends or making them feel awkward, remember that it’s not your job to save them. That’s Jesus’ job. You can plant seeds and you can water seeds, but it’s up to God to make them grow. Show them your faith, share the gospel as it comes up in conversation, and pray that God would grow the seeds you plant.
Which of your friends, family, and coworkers can you invite to your Easter service?
The average person is connected to 150 people. I guarantee that you know two or three people who would join you this Sunday. All you need to do is ask.
- Invite your friends over for dinner or out for an activity.
- Make the invite.
- Spend time with them while at church.
- Be sure to follow up.
The best part about it? These tips aren’t just for Easter! Following them will help you be more effective at living out Jesus’ Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations” on special occasions and throughout the year.
What are some other ways you can reach your friends with the Gospel?