My stomach turns upside down when I hear someone being pushy and annoying in an attempt to evangelize. It’s fairly obvious when the motive to talk to others about the good news of Jesus is self-justifying and ego-boosting. For years, I reacted to this by focusing on building solid relationships with people, in order to gain a place of trust where the message of Jesus would be more acceptable. At least that was my intention. In reality, I rarely got to the point of sharing about Jesus. I did a lot of relationship-building, hoping that my life alone would be sufficient in proclaiming the greatness of God and the life and salvation found in Jesus alone.
As in many things, my reaction to the extreme evangelism of some led me to an equally-unhealthy position of rarely talking to others-especially unbelievers-about Jesus. But the uncomfortable presentations of some in sharing their faith don’t mean that all attempts to share Jesus with others are misguided. Furthermore, the culture of individualism and relativity that we live in, where we are told that all evangelism is improper, rude, and self-serving, needs to be recognized as completely at odds with the biblical testimony (and the testimony of most world religions) that there is objective truth. If you really believed something was true in a universal sense, and if you knew that the implications of this something were good, right, and helpful for all people, you would be a fool not to talk to others about this something. It makes you wonder how many Christians actually believe what they claim to believe.
With this in mind, here are 9 good reasons for inviting others into your church community (I don’t mean simply inviting them to a church service, though that would certainly be included. But I am thinking on a larger level of inviting them into any situation or event where members of your church are gathering.):
- Because the truth you believe about Jesus being Lord and king, and about salvation, life, and hope being found in him, is not only true for you, but true for everyone (John 14:6)
- Because as a disciple of Jesus, you’re called, even commanded, to make disciples. (Mt. 28:18-20; 2 Cor. 5:18-20)
- Because part of what it means to be a disciple is to be committed to a community of believers. The church is a vital part of the Christian life.
- Because there are many who claim to be Christians but aren’t regularly engaged in Christian fellowship (worship, teaching, confession, etc.). We have a place to lovingly call back to community. (Heb. 10:24-25)
- Because there are many who don’t yet know Jesus. Disciples doing life together is one of the greatest witnesses to the presence and power of God at work. (John 13:35)
- Because people respond favorably to such invitations much more often than you think.
- Because even if people turn down your invitation, it’s often a good lead-in to a meaningful conversation.
- Because being used by God in someone’s maturing in faith is one of the most encouraging things to your own faith.
- Because if you’re waiting for others to bring up the conversation, or for it to just happen naturally, it probably won’t ever happen.