A new mind-set
If Christians are to deal with their fears over inviting, it means them seeing God and ‘success’ through new eyes in three different ways.
The three new ways of thinking are
1. Rethink what God expects of us
Christians can imagine God is only pleased with ‘success’. This creates a fear to invite, in case they fail. And, if they do invite, a sense of failure if they get a ‘no’.
We must take account of Jesus’ words, ‘Well done you good and faithful servant’. Because it is faithfulness and obedience that matter. And, when we do so, we are released from the fear of failure and pressure to ‘succeed’.
2. Rethink the spiritual needs of the inviter
When it comes to mission, churches put their focuses to the needs of those being reached. And ignore the potential for spiritual growth – or damage – for those reaching out.
Yet when Jesus sent out the 70 he was as interested in what happened to them as he was in what happened through them. And we need to take the same approach and so develop spiritual maturity of the inviter.
3. Rethink God’s role in mission
It is too easy to see mission as ‘all about us’ – with God just giving us a bit of help. Such an approach brings pressure to ‘deliver’ the goods.
We need to recognise that God is already on a mission. God’s at work in people’s lives long before we get there – and is simply inviting us to join in. Mission is God’s work, the results are up to God.
When we think differently
These three ways of thinking differently represent a totally new approach to mission.
When people understand that all God asks is for faithfulness, that our spiritual growth is part of the activity of mission, and that the results are down to God and not us, something wonderful happens.
Time and again, those who come to see mission in this light say ‘I feel liberated’.