I’m Curious…

Do you mind if I ask you a question?

First, let me explain.  I just got off the telephone with a person who loves God, is serious about her discipleship, and wants to see non-Christians come to know Jesus.  Her dilemma?  Her church.  She explained that she is very hesitant to invite non-Christians to visit her church.  (This woman lives in another city in another state).  On occasion, she has invited them to visit church, but it was an invitation to visit another congregation with her.  She said, "At our church, we just don’t seem to think about the comfort of a non-Christian."  One person who she talked with recently said, "I just get lost when the preacher starts referring to different Scriptures.  I don’t know where to find these in the Bible."

Is this a familiar experience with you?  Are you a part of a church where you would hesitate or not hesitate to invite a non-Christian to visit?  Why?  What would you like to see different? 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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13 thoughts on “I’m Curious…

  1. I know the experience very well. It is a very interesting experience and pretty hard.I am not currently at that place. I love to invite people to our current fellowship but I do remember those days. 

  2. Yes, I know the experience well. I find ours is not a place where I think my non-Christian friends would experience anything positive. I’ve frequently heard people say things that make me cringe and I know how they would sound to my friends. (They are unpleasant for me to hear.)Of course, there’s a whole, long story about how I ended up where I am. But that’s something else entirely. 😉 I do discuss Christianity with my friends to the extent they wish to talk about it.

  3. I am very blessed to be able to invite ANYONE to my church. It is where I began my journey….it is an amazing place that provokes you into seeking who He is for yourself. I love when I take people or invite them they leave with a curiousity that is bound to encourage them to find out more, not only about the body of people, the community …. but what that body of people seeks…..It’s amazing what happens when you’re just confident that He’s in charge…..that the journey is that important.

  4. Becky,What a blessing.  Not only do you feel confident about inviting people to your church but it sounds like you are a living witness of this church’s love since youu began your journey there.Thanks. 

  5. Yes and yes.

    I have a huge problem inviting people to my church for a variety of reasons. One: I don’t like my church. We struggle with an atmosphere that is inauthentic, to put it kindly. Let me back up and say my husband and I are 100% committed to our church family. In this age of consumer-driven “church shopping,” we’re not. That said, I was talking with my neighbor yesterday, and she is beginning to wonder if she and her husband should attend church “for the children.” I recommended another neighbor’s church, who has an excellent children’s program, and brought it up with them both when the other neighbor joined us on our walk. Why not invite her to our church? Her husband works for a pornographic magazine, and I’m afraid people would respond in a negative way, and that they’d leave and never step foot in another church anywhere. Personally, I have so much baggage with “The Church” in general, I’m probably the wrong person to answer objectively. Jesus is amazing and has changed my life in more ways than I can name, but the people I’ve encountered in churches have hurt me more than anybody anywhere. Growing up, my mother was mentally ill. She went from healing service to healing service…memorized scripture…if just ONE PASTOR had told her she needed to go to a doctor and get medication, I wonder…how would my childhood have been different?? Oh, and then there was my own teen pregnancy…long story. I hid it for a long time, and finally came clean…deciding to choose adoption for my child. That’s when the parents in the church formed a posse to get me kicked out…after all, I would be a pretty poor influence on their kids, who knew nothing at all of sex…and certainly shouldn’t be around a pregnant teen in the middle of the biggest crisis of her life.

    Obviously, this is a sore subject. I could go on, but will stop here. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of yucky church stories. And all of this happened some seventeen years ago! Amazing how the emotion of it all never changes, and my attitude of distrust is still intact!!

    Now to go back and make this comment semi-anonymous…yikes…

  6. We’ve lived so many places and seen so many things — both good and bad — within the church. I’ll have to say that there is a talent to “preaching the truth in love” and that sometimes mere humans mess that up. I constantly struggle with the legalistic attitudes I encounter (yes, even in “good” churches) and I have to admit that I have hesitated before also. What would a Sunday be like if we tried to see it though a visitor’s eyes?

  7. R,Thanks so much for your comment.  I appreciate very much the time and emotional energy that it took to write this comment.  You have been hurt a great deal by people in churches.  How sad.Yet, you continue to love Jesus and to be a part of a church.Thanks for reminding me of the importance of authenticity for my own life as a Christ-follower. 

  8. Ann,Thanks for your comment.  Legalistic attitudes as well as legalistic theology are so damaging to people and create such interference in allowing people to see Jesus.I like your question at the end…

  9. I’m late to comment on this. Sorry! Yes, I have felt just as the woman you spoke to on the phone. There was a couple I once knew and I knew they needed a church.  I was too fearful to invite them to my church because they had some CofC baggage, there was a building controversy simmering at church at the time, and frankly I wasn’t sure they would be accepted or welcomed by the majority of folks at church.  Even though I felt they would have come, I never asked them. I was afraid I would just further repel them from God if it went badly.  
    Later when the opportunity had long passed, I truly regretted that I did not at least ask them to church.  Who knows what God could or would have done with that visit?  It’s not my church it is HIS church! I am embarrassed that I let my feelings and negative view of things keep me from asking that family to church.  Who knows but that God put me in their life to give them that invitation? So now, if I ever feel I have an opportunity to ask someone to visit, I do. Yes, they will probably see some negative things, but then they will understand that the church is made up of sinners seeking God.  And that couple …well it is a very sad story.
    Would it have ended differently if I had done more when given the chance? I will never know. I wish I had tried.  I really hope God forgives me for not trying harder to issue a simple invitation to church.

  10. I think some of you have forgotten the reason of church. Granted, most of the churches are not in it for the right reasons. But you go to church to fellowship with God. After all it’s all about Him, and bringing others to know Him. Who knows, maybe that person you invite will find the lord, or maybe the church will be changed because of him/her.

  11. One great resource for elders and ministers to read is Thom Rainer’s Surprising Insights from the Unchurched. This book really helps you get into the shoes of the unchurched. It turns out many churches make a lot of assumptions about visitors without really evaluating if they are accurate.