Think back to the time before you knew Jesus. Before you were a Christian. Before your life and future with him was secure. And then, someone extended the invitation. They welcomed you to experience new life. Hope. A bright future. Think of where you would be without that person introducing you to the most important Person.
The Easter season is one of the greatest opportunities we have to invite people to come to our worship gatherings and be introduced to Jesus. It is a natural opening. People in our culture almost expect to be invited (which, of course, creates its own set of challenges). So how about stepping out and walking in obedience and extending an invitation?
Who will you invite?
Pastor Brad House (Mars Hill Church, Seattle) reflects on the power of an invitation. What follows is most of his excellent article:
An invitation is a powerful thing.
I can still remember the rush of excitement I would get as a kid when I got invited to a birthday party or a dance. I can also remember the anxiety that not getting invited invoked as well. When that happens, you dread someone asking about the party because you have to confront the fact that you weren’t invited.
To be completely honest, I get the same feelings today. Like most people, I like to get invited to things, especially important things.
We Are Invited to Know and Celebrate with Jesus
An invitation holds such emotional power because we were created to belong to a people. We were created in the image of a relational God as relational beings. But sin does what it always does: separate us from what God has made good and drive us toward isolation, where we are apart from Jesus.
But thankfully, through the reconciling power of Christ’s blood, we can rejoice that “Once [we] were not a people, but now [we] are God’s people, once [we] had not received mercy, but now [we] have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:10). Through Jesus we have been reconciled to the Father and to one another, being invited to the greatest party of all time: the wedding supper of the lamb.
But that is not the only invitation we receive as new creations in Christ. Our Father invites us to be active members of the family business. That business is to make disciples.
God does not save us so we can watch him continue the work of reconciling mankind—he invites us to join him.
We Invite You to Invite Someone
As we prepare for our Easter celebrations, where we will rejoice together that the tomb is empty, where we will look expectantly into the future for that day when we will break bread with Jesus face to face, we have been given the opportunity to invite others to the party.
My challenge to you is to accept the invitation to give an invitation.
Easter is the biggest event on our calendar as a church because it is the biggest event in history. Why not invite someone to join you on Easter Sunday?
You have a few things going in your favor. First, as I mentioned earlier, people like to be invited even if they don’t accept the invitation. So don’t worry about rejection. Second, many people still feel some obligation to go to church on Easter or Christmas: by giving them an invitation, you have eliminated the work for them of finding another place to go.
But here is our real motivation: Jesus is worthy, and he is worthy to be worshiped. His victory over Satan, sin, and death is worth celebrating. And our neighbors, image bearers of God, are worth the risk of awkward conversation to invite them to meet the Savior of world and their only hope.
So in the weeks leading up to Easter, we would like everyone to invite someone to join us. Invite a family, singleton, neighbor, co-worker, friend or family member who needs to hear the good news of Jesus.
We’re Here for Those Who Aren’t
As a Community Group, make a list of all the people you are going to invite and begin to pray for them over the next few weeks. Consider as well how you might celebrate on Easter Sunday as a group. Attending the same service together and planning a brunch, lunch, or dessert together would be a great way to introduce those you invite to meet some members of your Community Group. Invite someone out of isolation and into the community of God.
Remember, as a church, we exist not for ourselves, but for those who are not here yet. Let’s make sure that as many people as possible get an invitation.
I received an invitation to hear the gospel when I was a college student and it changed my life. Into whose life are you going to invite change?
So, invite someone to your church this Easter. Invite them to the One who can change everything. If you call Calvary Community Church home, check out our schedule for Holy Week.