Who are you planning to invite to church this season? Canon Frank Logue reminds us of the importance of the invitation:
Plant Seeds with Persistent Invitations
From Frank Logue’s The Loose Canon
Christmas will be upon us sooner than I care to imagine. With it, as with Easter, comes one of our two best opportunities to invite friends, family and co-workers to join you for worship. Survey after survey shows that most southerners who do not have a church home will react favorably to an invitation to church at these times of year. Even in this post-Christendom age many are culturally conditioned toward Christmas and Easter worship.
This is a great time of year to make sure that you have flyers about your Christmas liturgies and any other special events, such as Lessons and Carols. Encourage everyone in your congregation to give them to friends, family and co-workers with an invitation
to join your church family for Christmas. The one caveat is this: even if the person reacts favorably, and even says they will come, they might well not darken the church doors this Feast of the Nativity. Most of us then decide that the seed has been scattered on soil not yet disposed toward growth and then never make another invitation. This is where we can easily fail in scattering seed.
It may well take a Christmas invitation, followed by an Easter invitation, followed by yet another Christmas invitation before your friends actually show up for church. Never underestimate the inertia that must be overcome to make the move from not attending church to worshipping faithfully. Keep the invitations persistent and low key, always making sure folks know they are welcome, without ever making someone feel bad for not showing up. That is how such seeds are consistently scattered.
Now do not hear me as saying that a church invitation equals evangelism. But the Word and Sacrament encountered once the newcomers show up contains powerful Gospel content, expecially at Christmas with its incarnational emphasis and Easter with the hope of the resurrection.