Not wanting to invite friends to church is a fairly common struggle for Christians. There are plenty of reasons for this, as Relevant.com contributor Kris Beckert notes in her trending piece, The Real Reasons We Don’t Invite Friends to Church. Here are just a few of the reasons she has given in her own life.
1. My Worlds Would Collide. “The folks who saw you in the office Thursday or saw what you were doing on Friday night might wonder why you act and talk totally different on Sunday morning,” Kris writes. That can definitely be uncomfortable—but perhaps it can also motivate us to be living a more genuinely Christian lifestyle regardless of whether we’re in the pews on Sunday or at our desk on Monday morning.
2. It Could Risk Our Relationship. “You’re afraid that inviting a friend to church might communicate you think she’s messed up or that you don’t respect her beliefs as-is. Maybe your friend even said before that he’s a Christian but doesn’t go to church. If you invite him and he declines, that could make your relationship kind of weird,” says Kris.
This is a big one for me. It’s hard not to worry about offending a friend who might not agree with your beliefs. But I’ve found that the more I integrate my faith into conversations and activities with friends, the less surprised they are by my invitation to join me at church. They know it’s a big part of my life, so as their friend, why wouldn’t I invite them into share in that?
3. They’re Working. Not only do 30 percent of people in the U.S. work on Sundays, but many work late on Saturday nights and, and Kris notes, “getting up first thing in the morning to gather with people they don’t know to worship a God they aren’t sure of just doesn’t make sense.” There are ways to work around this problem: many churches have Saturday evening services for those who work on Sundays, and if your church has weeknight services or studies, this might also be a good way to introduce them to your church. I’ve even offered to attend a different church with a friend because it had a service that works better with their schedule.
You can read the rest of Kris’ reasons here.
“When we cringe at the thought of inviting a friend to join us, Kris writes, “the best idea is to stop dismissing and start adjusting—our attitude, our motivation, our presentation and our communication.” Pastor and blogger Dr. James Emery White did just that by adjusting how his church ran service to better address one major reason that people didn’t want to invite friends—the “meet and greet” time.
Dr. White realized that this part of the service was universally loathed, not just by new comers but members as well. You can read all the reasons here (it’s quite an eye-opener). The point is, he saw an area in the service that could be adjusted to make newcomers welcome, and rather than dismiss it, was willing to make a change.
What stops you from inviting friends to church? I’d love to hear your reasons in the comments below. For me, it’s mostly not wanting to offend or not wanting my friends to think I’m judging them. But the truth is, inviting friends to church is just one way to share our faith with them. Regardless of whether they accept or decline our invitation, our sharing Christ doesn’t stop there. Sharing the good news of the gospel with our friends is part of a life well lived, part of sharing ourselves and the One who matters most to us.
Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.