Have you ever visited someone’s house and felt entirely out of place or uncomfortable? What was so different about being there? Tell the story to your group.
On the other hand, have you ever visited someone’s house for the first time and felt very welcome and comfortable? What did the homeowner do to make you feel that way?
This week we’re talking about being focused on our mission to reach the people in our community who don’t yet know God.
On Sunday we said, “If we’re going to be the church, we’ve got to be focused on engaging people who aren’t yet a part of the church.” In the words of Acts 15:19, “we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”
How does a church focused on engaging the people who aren’t members differ from a church focused solely on its members? What do they do differently? How do they speak differently? What are their priorities? What aren’t their priorities?
Consider this quote from minister and author, Carey Niewholf:
“If you don’t have a friend on your arm and you fail to fight this with all you’ve got, you’ll end up evaluating your church through selfish eyes. People who don’t invite friends almost always evaluate their church through selfish eyes. You begin to run everything through a simple filter: do I like it? You judge songs and worship leaders based on your personal preference and make emotional decisions on whether you like a particular preacher or a series or a topic. You’ll look at everything from architecture, to dress, to style, to kids ministry to things as intangible as vibe as the basis for your decisions.”
- Have you noticed this is to be true?
- Do you find it convicting?
Are you regularly looking for people to invite to church?
What holds you back from inviting people to church?
What could make it easier? Knowing there are people who aren’t yet in a relationship with Jesus in our church building every Sunday, how do you feel like you could contribute to making them feel welcomed? Make a list of things we can personally do to reach them.
Read I Corinthians 14:23-25.
Were there outsiders attending the worship of the first century church?
Why is prophecy the preferred gift for communicating to outsiders (as opposed to tongues)?
Can this kind of reaction happen in our church today when the word of God is spoken? Consider the letter from Denise Werner Justin shared on Sunday. What did she experience at our church?
To do tonight: As a group, put together a list of people you could invite to church (If you can't think of anyone, let your group help you think of someone). Then pray over the names, asking God to open hearts and provide opportunities.
You might consider coming to church early one Sunday to pray over the seats. Walk up and down the aisles, maybe touching the seats, asking God to reach each person who sits in one. Pray that God would be present and working that Sunday, reaching those who need Him.