By Michael McFarland
"And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Luke 14:23)
Compel: to drive or urge forcefully or irresistibly.
Most people are "nervous" when it comes to inviting guests to church. In fact, most people are afraid to even talk to someone about Church or about God. They are afraid that they won’t have all of the right answers. They are afraid of rejection and many other things that the devil will use to get them to dislike outreach. So, how do we get our people to buy into inviting people to church? We must first ask the question "Are the leaders of the church soul-winners?" Is winning souls something that drives us every day? Remember, the sheep will follow their shepherd.
1. You can’t sell something if you haven’t yourself bought into it first. If soul-winning is your passion and what drives you, it will come out in every message and in everything you say and do. It is a part of you. It is who you are. It’s not a chore or an inconvenience to you, but it is part of your make up. You do it without thinking about it and it has become second nature to you. If you passionately preach and teach on soul-winning long enough, the people will feel your excitement and buy into what you are selling.
2. Teach on this Biblical fact: Witnessing is a command. Once we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive the Power to be a witness. Jesus instructs us that we SHALL be witnesses (Acts 1:8). He doesn’t ask us if we want to or if we feel like it or if it fits into our schedule. He commands us to be witnesses. When we invite people to our church we are displaying our witness. We are showing them that going to church and learning more about God is what we enjoy doing and that it is part of our life.
3. Have a "PUSH" service every week or every month. A very productive way to encourage people to invite their friends and family is to have a service that is designed just for them. These "PUSH" services can be held every month. In these services, every aspect of the service is tailored around the guests. Every song, every message, and every word that is spoken is in an effort to reach out and connect with the guests. You can hold contests and competitions to see who can bring the most guests or family members. You can create charts and visual aids to help generate excitement to invite guests. But everything and every effort you do for those services are geared towards outreach. You can name these services Friend’s Day, Family Day, PUSH service, or any other creative name you can come up with. These services are very important and should be at the top of our priority list.
4. Give the people an easy 5 steps plan to follow.
a. First of all, how is our relationship with God? When everything is truly right with God in our lives, we will want to invite people to our church!
b. Keep a positive testimony before others. We all have our own little "world" that we come in contact with everyday. In our schools, on our jobs, in our neighbourhoods and in the everyday places we go, we should make sure that we keep a positive testimony. This will greatly affect our outreach efforts!
c. Pray that God gives us a deep burden for the lost. We must love people to truly reach out to them. Pray that God gives us hunger and desire to win the lost. Pray that soul winning is something that will always stay on our minds throughout the day. Every person we come in contact with has a soul. That person will spend their eternity in Heaven or in Hell. Their final destination is in your hands. That truth should motivate us to reach out to everyone we meet!
d. Every day, pray that God would lead us to hungry souls and that we would have the opportunity to invite them to our church. Before we leave our houses in the morning, pray that God would open doors for us to meet people who are hungry and desiring more for their lives. God will lead you if you are willing to be led! Also, pray to be sensitive to His leading. God knows who is hungry and will order our steps to meet these people. When that opportunity arises, make sure you listen to the person and pick up on "life clues" that you can use to ask them to come to church. Life issues, traumas, sicknesses, or others can be key issues in getting that person to visit your church. You can say something like this: "My church is a place that will help you right now in your time of need. Will you be my guest this Sunday?"
e. Have faith that God will bless your efforts! We can be assured that God will bless our efforts every time! We can only plant and water, but it’s God that gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:6). If we do our part, He will definitely do His!