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Has anyone ever heard this from the pulpit? “50% of the unchurched say they would go to church if only someone asked them.” Well guess what, I must not know any of those people. Is this a real Barna statistic, or a Christian urban legend? If it’s a statistic, who did they poll — moderns who were raised in American Christendom?
The reason for my mini-rant is that on Thursday over lunch, I invited someone to our Easter service. He gave it some thought, then declined. Now bear these things in mind:
- I consider this person a good friend.
- He knows I am a Christ-follower, and I don’t think I fit any of his negative stereotypes.
- I once instant-messaged him that I’ve thought of inviting him before, but didn’t want to be pushy. He responded, “I’m not afraid of church.”
- He is a fellow musician and bass-player.
- On Thursday, he asked me how things were going with the band at church.
- He asked, “Where is your church? Oh wait, I mean where does your church meet?”
Given all these factors, wouldn’t you expect him to accept my invitation of, “Hey, I’m doing the Easter gig. You wanna come?” For years, I’ve assumed that people would come because they know me and hey, I’m doing the music. And for years, not a single person has come. Not one.
The fact that despite all of my friend’s apparently positive indications, he declined, tells me a very important thing: Church services are, at best, irrelevant to normal people. It also betrays the fact that most evangelism is meeting-centered. Of course, meeting-centeredness is a big danger for church life in general — even home groups are not exempt from this disease!
…So I am not going to invite any of my friends to church services again. Over many lunches, they probably have some idea of what I believe. I want to find out more about what they believe — not to convince them otherwise, but because I’m really kind of curious.
++ Master, show me what you are already doing in the lives of my friends. ++
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