Invite guests

I woke up today and I realized something: it’s two weeks until Advent.  That doesn’t seem real to me.  Where has the year gone?  I blinked, and we find ourselves at Christmas.  It’s time to break out the decorations, figure out where in the house the tree is going, and don’t forget about Christmas shopping.

Yes, it’s Christmas time again.  The beginning of the Church year, the time when we again rejoice over the gift of a baby who would save the world.  More specifically, the real gift of Christmas is the completed work of Christ, a work which began at His birth and ended as He walked alive and well out of the grave...the living Savior, the Redeemer, and the resurrected King.  He came to earth out of compassion and love, He was crucified on Calvary as my sin, and He walked out of the grave as my Righteousness.  That's the real gift of Christmas.  A gift better than anything we could pick up on Amazon or at the mall.  It is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

About now, you’re probably asking why I’m writing a blog about Christmas the week before Thanksgiving.  The answer is simple, Advent is a time of preparation and expectation. The Church describes Advent as a season “of devout and expectant delight.”  So, I want to give you time to prepare to do what we are called to do; share the gift of Jesus Christ with others.  That’s right, believe it or not, Christmas is the perfect time to invite someone to church.
For non-Christians, an invitation to church can be uncomfortable, intimidating, or downright scary. They don’t know what to expect, so they’re reluctant to accept. But Christmastime changes all that. Statistics on inviting someone to church say it’s actually the perfect time to invite people to church.  That’s because most Americans already celebrate Christmas, even if they leave baby Jesus out of it. They probably have some basic understanding of the traditional Christmas story, so a visit to church for a Christmas concert or Christmas Eve service feels less weird. Even if they don’t know the whole story of Jesus’ birth, they can at least hum along to familiar carols and enjoy the pretty glow of candlelight. But here’s the thing: Even though most Americans celebrate some version of Christmas, most aren’t planning to attend a church service. They need to be invited.

According to some recent surveys, 55% of Americans are somewhat or very Churched.  34% are Dechurched meaning that they attended at some point and have stopped, and only 11% are Unchurched.  The really interesting statistic is that of the Unchurched, 55% would attend church if they were invited by family and 51% would if they were invited by a friend.  Furthermore, 71% of Unchurched people say a Christian has never shared with them how to become a Christian.  For years we have been bemoaning the fact that people aren’t coming to church like they used to, but the truth is that the real problem may just be that we as Christians haven’t been doing our jobs!  We haven’t been actively asking people to come to Church and we certainly have not been sharing with others how to become part of the family!

The reality is that Christmas and Easter are the two holidays that almost anybody would be willing to come to a church service. At least, it’s a higher probability than normal.  On some level, we all yearn for belonging; it’s part of our nature. We were created in the Image of God, after His likeness. God is a community. He is the one who eternally exists in three divine persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). As His image-bearers, we were created for community. Inviting people to Christmas services is an opportunity to get them connected into our church community, so that they can experience love, peace, harmony, beauty, and God through the body of Christ, in short; find and know the love of God.

This Advent, our theme is “The Star”, and as part of this series, I encourage you to invite people to attend Cason at Christmas to take the first or next step on their journey of faith.  We’re actively branding this evangelical opportunity “Follow the Star”, and we will be commemorating their visit with a wall of stars in the Narthex.  So, invite your friends, family, co-workers, classmates, and neighbors. In fact, welcome anybody whom you have regular contact. Invite them so that they can get connected to your church family, so that they can witness people publically demonstrating their devotion to Jesus, so that they can hear the good news of the cross of Christ, and so that they can get a foretaste of God’s kingdom.

The point of Christmas is the birth of Christ, God has come into this world, Emmanuel!  Share the best possible news with those you love and invite them to celebrate what truly matters most.

No Comments