By Thom Rainer
Eighty-two percent of the unchurched are likely to attend church if a friend, co-worker, neighbor or family member invites them. Perhaps we need to pause on this response. Perhaps we need to restate it. More than eight out of 10 of the unchurched said they would come to church if they were invited.
Gallup estimates 43 percent of Americans—135 million people—are unchurched. If our research is close to accurate, the implications are staggering. More than 110 million people would attend church if they were invited!
What constitutes an invitation? For many of the unchurched, it was a simple invitation to come to one’s church. For others, it was an invitation that included an offer to meet someone at church to show them around or walk them into the building. In either case, the process was pretty basic. If we invite them, they will come.
The next obvious question is: Are Christians inviting non-Christians to church? The heartbreaking answer is “no.” Only 2 percent of church members invite an unchurched person to church. Perhaps the evangelistic apathy so evident in many of our churches can be explained by a simple laziness on the part of church members in inviting others to church.
Walk with me through one more calculation. Let us suppose, instead of 82 percent, only half of the unchurched in America would come to church if invited. That means, out of 135 million unchurched persons, almost 68 million would be willing to come to church. Can you imagine how many people would be reached for Christ if that happened?
We who are leaders in the church must challenge our church members. When was the last time they invited an unchurched person to church? When was the last time they offered to meet someone and show him or her around the church? The answers they give could make the difference in the eternal destiny of a person. Perhaps it is time we sounded the clarion call to invite people church. It may be that simple, and it may be that profound.
Source: LifeWay President, Thom S. Rainer, ThomRainer.com