There’s nothing that beats the power of personal invitation. In life there’s a continual stream of events to which a general invitation is issued. I look at these and pretty much ignore the vast majority.
However, when someone personally invites me to do something or be somewhere, that’s a whole different matter. I actually have to give it some thought! Would this be good for me to go to? Is there a particular reason for the invitation? I can’t just ignore, I am called upon to give a yes or a no.
I believe there are lots of people in our community who would like to be connected or re-connected with church. The fact is that our secular and consumerist world is not satisfying the longings in many hearts. Many are curious to know whether there might just be something more to life, than the latest experience or consumer good. Oftentimes it is just hard to know how to go about connecting with a church or exploring it further. Yes, there’s a general invitation out there, but to have someone they know and trust invite them and go along with them would make a huge difference.
Every year we like to do something a little different on St Luke’s Day, seeing we are St Luke’s church! This year that happens on Sunday October 21. We wondered how good it would be to make it an ‘Invitation Day’, a special day where we all are invited to invite someone else to come with us that day. It might be a family member, friend or neighbour, work colleague or a facebook friend (why not!). Whether they say yes or no is not the point, the point is giving them the opportunity to choose.
In the Bible we read how Jesus invites people to become disciples: “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people” (Mark 1:17). He is still making that invitation today –through us – and it is often a matter of finding appropriate steps along the path for people to take.
So on October 21 at each of our congregations I hope we can really give this a go. Perhaps after each service we have a special morning tea or the like. Perhaps you have ideas of how to make this work well, ideas for our worship that day, or ideas that will help us lead up to it. Please share them with me (or a vestry person!).
The power of invitation also relates to our forthcoming Alpha. Is there someone you might be able to bring along with you? On Thursday September 27 St Luke’s is hosting a morning with Michael Harvey, who is visiting Australia at the invitation of Alpha Australia. Michael pioneered a movement in England built around the idea of ‘back to church’ Sunday, his real interest being in how churches can develop an invitational culture, rather than simply a one-off event. It is a privilege for us to be hosting this seminar and I commend it to you.
May God lead us forward to expand our ministries into the lives of people in this district, and may he do that by the quality of our lives and love which bear witness to Him. Jesus prayed for us as His church, that we “may be brought to complete unity…then the world will know that you sent me” (John 17:23).