Do you remember the first time you felt special for getting invited to something?
I was in the second grade and Brett was the new kid in the class. My teacher asked me to hang out with him during recess and to take him on a tour of the school. I remember Brett being shy and scared, but then again, it was his first day.
About a week later I received an envelope in the mail. It was a card, an invitation nonetheless. I was being invited to Brett’s Birthday party at the skating rink!
I was reminded of this incident, just this week, when my eight year old daughter received an invitation for a play date with a girl she hadn’t seen since last year (they both have changed schools). Though the invite came from one mom’s email account to my wife’s email address, the result was the same, an invite is still an invite!
There is something special about the invite!
Are you taking advantage of the great art of the invite? Especially when it comes to evangelism, I believe that Christians need to utilize this tool more than we have been!
Invite people to yourself before you invite them to youth group.
Of course as a youth leader I want our students bringing their unchurched friends to our outings and regular ministry settings, but my true hope is that you’ve been investing in that person as a person, not just as an evangelistic project. The end-game has little to do with church or youth group anyway, it has everything to do with a personal relationship with Jesus. Consider the following:
- Mocha > Meeting: Invite to a mocha before the invite to a meeting. Let others know they’re valuable to you.
- Dinner > Discipleship: Have someone over for dinner before you have them come to your discipleship group (in fact the rest of your discipleship group may want to know the person before he/she joins the group).
- Camping > Camp: A camping trip with you and your family may be a better entry point over a Christian camp experience. Who knows where the spiritual conversations may go?
People over Program
Your church and your youth group are probably trying to put their best foot forward when it comes to the programs they are offering, but those programs are only effective when the people behind them understand that it is the people that matter most.
You taking the time to build into your peers and inviting them into your life will make it so that people actually want to come to the things you invite them to.
Relationships and Risk
There is nothing wrong with inviting your friends to a youth group meeting a discipleship group or a camp, the bottom line here and the point to be made is that in the context of relationship, you can risk and invite your non-believing friend to these settings. But please take the time to invest relationally first!
I don’t like skating. But I liked Brett and Brett thought that I was pretty cool. It was an honor to get invited to (and show up for) his skating party!
Invite others to yourself, it’s a powerful tool!