82% of unchurched are at least somewhat likely to come to church if invited.

82% of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited. This according to Dr. Thom Rainer's new book The Unchurched Next Door. There is more. Only 2% of church going people ever invite someone to church in a given year. Seven out of ten unchurched people have never been invited to church in their whole lives. I say we ought to do something about that.

Let's put together an inviting campaign.

To make this a little more personal, listen to the words of one unchurched person: "I have a neighbor named Frank who is an outgoing Christian," said Bill J. of Nevada. "He is all the time talking about his church activities and all the things he’s involved in. I’ve known Bill for over six years now, but he’s never hinted at me going to church with him. Don’t you think that’s kind of strange?"

Let's put together an inviting campaign.

We really cannot do anything to force people to come to church. All we can do is invite. But, when we invite, they come. When we don't invite, they don't come.

We sometimes talk about growth campaigns that emphasize attendance or enrollment. These campaigns are focused on results. This is a good thing. But, from time to time, it might be a good thing to emphasize process. Perhaps we should do a campaign that emphasizes what we can do: invite.

I heard Bill Hybels talk about one such campaign they did at Willowcreek recently where they handed everyone a brick and asked them to put the name of someone they would pray for and invite on the brick. This was part of a series of messages on Nehemiah called, "The Power of Everybody." They took the bricks and formed them into this huge wall. Every brick of that wall was made up of the names of individuals that they were going to pray for and invite.

You might consider inviting to some of the following up coming events:

  • Your Super Bowl party. Tell me you are having a Super Bowl Party. Tell me you are inviting every member and every prospect to the Super Bowl Party. This is 101 stuff.
  • Mel Gibson's new movie, The Passion of Christ. (view the trailer and other information online.) In theatres February 25.
  • A Valentine's Party.
  • Easter

If we invite them, they will come. If we don't they won't. You don't have to get a box and stand on it and cry out for all to hear, "Hear ye! Hear ye! Repent you sinner!" You don't have to offer 16 reasons to believe in the existence of God. Try this. Say, "A bunch of us from my church are going to get together and watch the Super Bowl. Would you like to come?" Or, "A bunch of us are going to go see Mel Gibson's new movie, "The Passion of the Christ," would you like to come?"

We need to say what Philip said to Nathaniel. Nathaniel began to argue whether Jesus could be somebody based on the fact that he came from Nazareth. Philip didn't try to argue the point. He just said, "Come and see." He had his own little inviting campaign going.

The woman Jesus talked to at the well did a similar thing. She didn't give a lecture on 12 reasons to believe that Jesus is the Christ. She just said, "Come and see."

I saw a great example of an inviting campaign at Mobberly Baptist in Longview, Texas. My host, Dr. Gregg Zachary showed me a bunch of printed pieces they are using to encourage people to invite their friends. One is the folded down business card below. This is the inside:

The top part of the graphic below is upside down because it is designed to be folded over.

This card is the size of a business card and could be left with a tip or given to a friend. It includes a map and some basic information about the church.

They have some other pieces as well, including a book mark where you write down people you are going to invite. And, they did a direct mail campaign where the church itself did a lot of inviting. (For direct mail you might consider Outreach Marketing, or ManLove

A key component of an inviting campaign is accountability. Some kind of creative visual display that shows all the people we are praying for and have invited is a motivational tool. Something as simple as people putting first names of a card of who they invited, then taping them to a wall in the auditorium might work. Get your creative people to think about this.

I had the opportunity to invite someone recently and saw just how easy it was. I was on a flight to Memphis and the guy sitting across the isle from me was reading The Da Vinci Code. "I had a friend who was just telling me about that book. Is it good?" He had just started the book but was intrigued.

Now that I think about it, my friend who was telling me about it was Sam Shaw, who is a pastor in your town. He pastors at Germantown Baptist and is an incredible communicator. He is, in fact, doing a messages on that book. "Really?" he replied. "I just might come." (If you would like to hear Sam's message on the Da Vinci Code, click here.)

It is just that easy.

Let's put together an inviting campaign.

One such example of an inviting campaign is the Friend Day Campaign. The campaign has been widely used over the years to help members invite their friends.

Who have you invited to church in recent days? How about getting your staff together and put together some plans as to how to put together an inviting campaign.