For those of us who were raised in church we just assume that everyone knows they are welcome in our church, but the reality is they don’t. Those that have never been a part of a church honestly have no idea if they would be welcome or not. One of the best ways we can make sure they know they are welcome is to personally invite them.
When surveys are taken of people who aren’t a part of any church do you know what the number one reason they give for not going to church is? Not being invited. Most of those surveyed say they would come if they were invited. Despite what people may tell researchers I contend that most of the time “I wasn’t invited” is a convenient excuse. If you’ve invited very many people you know that many times what they say and what they do don’t line up. We can’t change this and it’s not even our job to change this. All you can do is make sure that they can’t use that excuse about your church. You can make sure that no one you know can say they were never invited to your church. As you think about inviting people to church start with people that you already know. The idea of starting with those we already know is very Biblical.
Andrew did it. “One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus…” John 1:40-42 (NKJV)
Philip did it. “The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:43-45 (NKJV)
Levi (later called Matthew) did it. “As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him.” Mark 2:14-15 (NKJV)
None of them went and knocked doors. None of them went into the market place and talked to random strangers. Instead, they intentionally made an effort to go to people they already knew and invited them to Jesus. In each instance they leveraged their relationships with others to help them come to know Jesus. You might say they had redemptive relationships with them. They worked through their existing relationships to help these people find redemption in Jesus. This is the whole point of investing and inviting.
When thinking about turning relationships you already have into redemptive relationships use the word FRANgelism. I first read the word FRANgelism in a book on evangelism by a man named Elmer Towns called Winning the Winnable. This is an acronym that stands for:
Friends. Who are some friends you already have that don’t know Jesus. You already have a relationship with them. Start there and turn that relationship into a redemptive relationship.
Relatives. Do you have any family members that don’t know Jesus? Again, you already have a relationship with them. Just begin to make it a redemptive one.
Associates. What about your coworkers? Other parents on your child’s athletic team? Do you regularly go to the same coffee shop, eat at the same restaurant? Think of people for one reason or another that you see on a regular basis.
Neighbors. Who lives around you? What are their names? Do they know Jesus?
This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t reach out to people we don’t know because we should. We’ll never make disciples of all nations if we only reach out to those we already know. However, starting with people we already know is likely to be more successful because we have a relationship with them that gives us a way to invest and invite. These people have already seen the way we live our lives and the lives we’ve lived for Jesus will give credibility to our words in ways that it won’t with those who don’t know us. Also, evangelism is probably the scariest Christian discipline and starting with those we already know increases confidence to make us better able to reach out to others.
Who are your FRAN’s who don’t know Jesus? How can you turn the relationship you already have with them into a redemptive one.
This post was written by Rev Ross. You can find the original post here: stacyjross.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/redemptive-relationships/