Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year's Resolution: To Issue More Invitations

As the new year approaches, many of us will be making resolutions in all areas of our lives.  What spiritual resolutions are we considering? 

I wrote an essay for Living Lutheran; in it, I consider why it's so easy to invite people to my church during the Christmas season than during the other seasons of the church year:  "But the larger issue remains: Why is it hard for me to invite people to church when we’re not doing fun activities? When we’re mired in the long season after Pentecost, for example, I often don’t feel enthusiastic about church myself, so it’s hard to invite people along."

That may be unfair to those summer months after Pentecost, I know.  And I also know that there are many out there who would tell me to get out of my own head--they might remind me that souls are on the line.

I don't think that the souls on the line, people will burn in hell approach to evangelism has ever worked--at least not in the last several decades.  But my thinking during December does give me insight to a way evangelism might work:  "The world has a variety of yearnings, and our churches can answer some of them. Shaping our invitations to be an answer to a heart's desire is a much more effective form of inviting than the blanket invitations that evangelical groups of my youth used to offer."

My New Year's resolution?  To offer more invitations, to be "more alert to people’s yearnings and the way my church is already working to fill them, and issue more invitations to give the Holy Spirit room to work."

Go here to read the whole essay.

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