This week McLane hosted our first Sportsman’s Dinner. Last October we started Men’s Fraternity on Thursday mornings. Recently at McLane-Union City we held a movie night for the community. Next week Union City will be hosting a Valentine’s Day dinner. Four events that share a common underpinning...they provide us with opportunities to reach out to our friends who are unchurched (and possibly unsaved) and invite them to join us for a enjoyable time together at a church sponsored non-worship event.
Having come to McLane from another church where there were relatively few such occasions, I am so very appreciative of how intentional our church is in helping to “eliminate barriers”. Barriers that may keep people from finding out the wonderfully good news of Jesus Christ. Asking a hunter to join you for a dinner where he or she can enjoy good food and a wonderful presentation from a nationally known wildlife photographer...I mean, how hard is that to do? Our church helps to put actionable, relationship-based evangelism opportunities on the bottom shelf, as it were. All we need do is to say, “come join me/us for a good time together.” And let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
The question is, are we taking advantage of what is being made available to us? I’m excited to say that I have asked an unchurched friend and his teen son to join my son and me this evening. What am I expecting? Simply to have fun, enjoy the evening, and see a presentation by a Christian who will be sharing his faith story while doing the evening program. In so doing, hopefully it will help my friend get a chance to see what McLane Church is like in a non-church service setting...which could lead to him deciding to bring his family to church down the road sometime. The only thing I need to do is extend the invitation and add some prayer to the mix, asking God to do what only He can do.
Evangelism need not be a scary thing for us. Inviting people is an important and easy way to participate in a person’s faith journey to Christ. Look at two inviters from the Bible who helped others meet Jesus:
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. (John 1:43-46)
Did Philip evangelize and convert? No...he just invited. “Come and see.”
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him. (John 4:28-29)
Did the "woman at the well" evangelize and convert? Again, no. It was “Come, see...”
So I am excited to do the same. Whether it’s a special event like I’ve mentioned here, or handing out a card that previews an upcoming sermon series along with a warm invitation...it's wonderful to simply ask people to “come and see.” And then leave the results up to God.
It couldn’t be any easier...and people’s eternal destination may be forever affected by whether we take advantage of these opportunities or not. Yes, it is that easy...and it could be that important....