Most of us feel a twinge of apprehension about inviting friends or neighbors to church. The following steps may help ease some of that fear and increase the likelihood that they'll say yes.
1. Begin to pray that God will soften their hearts and create opportunities for building friendship. Ask God to make it clear when the time is right to invite your friends to church.
2. Invite them into your life long before inviting them to church. Do things together. Serve them by delivering a meal when they are sick, watching their kids, and listening when they need to talk.
3. Slowly introduce them to others in your church. Invite them for dessert and coffee along with church friends. If everyone connects well, look for ways to get together in the future. The more "church people" your unsaved friends feel comfortable around, the less threatening the doors of the church will be.
4. Start small. Invite them to "neutral" church functions—a women's luncheon, a skating party, etc. If you or other family members have a part in a musical at church, or if one of your children is being baptized, invite your friends to witness those special occasions. Small-group Bible studies, one day retreats, or vacation Bible school may be ways to ease your friends into the spiritual aspects of the church.
5. Talk about the benefits. When the opportunity arises, casually tell them how the church has been a blessing in your life.
6. When you sense the time is right, simply ask your friends if they would like to attend church with you next Sunday.
7. If they say no, don't become discouraged and don't give up. Refuse to allow their negative response to create an uncomfortable tension in your relationship. Continue to be their friend, and wait for other opportunities to arise. When the timing seems right, ask again.
8. If they say yes, prepare them for the experience—it will reduce their anxiety. Let them know what you'll wear. Describe how your church introduces visitors—and assure them they have the option of not being singled out for attention. If they have children, describe the available facilities and classes for kids. Explain the meaning of any liturgical elements they'll encounter, such as baptism or communion.
Thanks for your feedback. Not sure how to respond to the Mormon comment. :) I guess I would say that they have their own techniques, and often put Christians to shame because they do a better job of reaching out than we do. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they used the principles effectively. All the more reason for Christians to be diligent!
In terms of the rest of your comment, my thought is that if you get to the point of inviting someone to church, most likely you have been “preaching” to them and living out your faith before them already. So I see the invitation to church as a more risky option than simply telling them about Jesus. It, in a sense, raises the bar and increases the chances of the person rejecting you as a friend, because you are asking them to move out of their comfort zone in a big way.
An additional benefit of inviting someone to church is that you potentially broaden their circle of Christian friends. I can be their only Christian friend, or they can have several Christian friends. Which do you think is better? I don’t see myself as so amazingly wonderful and spiritual that I’m the only Christian friend they need.
I understand the intent and will say that the writing was good. However, the emphasis was on "inviting them to church"....How would you feel right now if I told you I am Mormon and this article spoke clearly to me and I intended to act on it tomorrow and invite several friends to go to church with me? As hard as it may be to invite someone to church the call is to "preach (announce) the gospel, the good news". As hard as it may be to invite someone to go to church it still may be little more than a religious facade; What I mean is this; "Why risk losing my friend by telling them about Jesus, they might start avoiding me so, I'll let the pastor/preacher do that." Inviting them to church is good; Allowing them to hear Him IN YOU invite them to "come and dine at the Masters Table" is the higher road, by far.