A personal invitation is a powerful thing. Just ask Peter, one of the first followers of Jesus. According to the written account in the gospel of John, Peter met Jesus because someone invited him to. (John 1:40-42) His brother, Andrew ‘brought’ him to Jesus. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Think of the impact of that invitation. What if it had never happened? I’m sure that Jesus could have found someone else to be the primary leader of this new movement of God he was launching. There could have been another “Rock,” I guess. But, there wasn’t.
This coming Sunday night, June 28, the Gathering Church is having an ‘invitation’ event – an Open House, at its usual time, 5-7, and its usual place, the United Church, 1321 MLK, Jr., Blvd, Chapel Hill. There will be a band in our service and a barbecue dinner afterwards, and I will do my best to explain the hopes of this new church. But, the best thing is that others will be invited to come – personally, by those already involved.
I’ve made out my list of who I’m going to invite. It keeps growing. It’s silly that the simple mechanical act of sitting down and making a list increases the level of my care for others. You know that saying, “Out of sight, out of mind?” Well, just writing down someone’s name puts them in my sight and on my mind, and I start wondering how they are doing. I want to catch up with them, as well as invite them to the Open House.
And when I bring God into the process by asking him if there are others I should invite, it starts getting really interesting. “Him?” “No way! I’m sure that they would not be interested.” Then God seems to say, “Oh, so you’ve written them off? I haven’t.”
“Lord, forgive me for deciding for others.”
Well, if you are local to our area, I want to invite you to the Open House. Come and hear why we are excited about the potential of this new church. If you’ve been coming, who are you going to invite?
You know, if you go to church somewhere, there’s nothing stopping you from inviting someone every week. Wouldn’t that be interesting if we all made a list every week? An Open House gives us a focused opportunity.
Who knows who might come? Maybe one of the next great leaders for the purposes of God in this world.
PS. Something neat from our gathering last night: a young couple came at the invitation of someone who is gone for the summer, who wasn’t even there. This couple is getting married on Saturday. Not only was it great to meet them, but we got to pray for them. Afterwards, I said to the guy that I hoped we had not put them too much on the spot. (Don’t worry – we don’t interrogate every visitor and then pounce on them with prayer. We also don’t ignore people.) He replied that it was very meaningful to them to have us pray. You know what? It felt like New Testament church.