This is the first of the three steps towards a church becoming invitational by nature.
Each step is essential. That’s because damage can be done by encouraging people to invite without first giving them a Biblical perspective on invitation.
As the video on the right explains, the three Biblical ways of thinking differently are –
- Rethink what God expects of us
Christians can imagine God is only pleased with ‘success’. This creates a fear to invite, in case of failure. And, if they do invite, a sense of failure if they get a ‘no’.
The need is to 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 pressure to ‘succeed’.
- 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. We need to take the same approach and so develop spiritual maturity of the inviter.
- Rethink God’s role in mission
It is too easy to see mission as ‘all about us’ – with God 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. He’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 him.
The result of thinking differently
These three ways of thinking differently represent a totally new approach to mission.
Something wonderful happens when people understand that all God asks is for faithfulness, that their spiritual growth is part of the story, and the results are down to God and not us.
What happens, time and again, is people saying ‘I feel liberated’.