This weekend, at the end of our church service, Pastor Ron got up and reminded us all of how Easter isn’t about us. It’s not about a religious celebration or particular traditions. It’s about Jesus, and the resurrection, and it’s about our community. It’s about the life-changing power of the resurrection, and how that can impact our neighborhood, our city and our world. And so he challenged us to make next weekend about somebody else, and to invite someone.
If you’re like me, you raised your hand at the end of the service, and responded, “Yes, I can invite someone.” But then my next thought went something like this: “I’ve invited them before. But they didn’t come…”
Then, this morning I read this blog post online from a pastor in South Carolina. And he talked about the difference between inviting, and bringing. And it clicked for me.
I’ve invited many people to church before. And some of them have come… but many more haven’t. It’s not that they hated the idea of church… or that the thought of God or religion was repulsive to them. Honestly, I think it’s because they didn’t have anyone to come with. To be transparent: I invited them, but I didn’t always take the next step of then bringing them with me. I didn’t drive to their house, and pick them up. I didn’t offer to meet them for coffee beforehand and ease the pressures or fears of walking into a building all by yourself. I just put the invite out there each week, and hoped they’d show up.
To get even more transparent: I remember one particular moment in high school, when a friend of mine invited me to a really cool party. I was actually excited to attend with her, but I didn’t know anyone there. I remember driving there, and right as I pulled up (on time), I got a text from my friend: “Running 15 minutes late. Sry.” Of course, being the introverted, insecure high-schooler I was, I waited that 20 minutes out in my car, until she drove up. She got out of her car, bouncing, and I timed my car exit just right. She asked me how long I had to wait, and I just said “It’s ok, I was running late too…”
I think for someone coming to church for the first time, this is what the experience feels like. Chances are they’re intrigued at the possibility of church, maybe interested at the chance of meeting new people, or hearing about God. But they may not be excited about showing up at a big building, on time, knowing no one. They may really want to come, but they just don’t want to show up alone.
So here’s my thought for you: Don’t just invite someone to Easter at King’s Park. Bring them. Pick them up, or meet them somewhere beforehand.
With the Easter Egg Hunt and celebration after the service (with food trucks, cornhole and music), it’s the perfect way to say “Hey come with me to church, stick around, I’ll buy you lunch, and you can meet my friends.”
You never know what could happen. They just might come.