Bread Sharing: Party On!
Many churches have ideas, concepts, and practices left over from decades ago. One church I attended had a spring revival every year. They annually called in a visiting evangelist like they had been doing for decades. However, there had been no professions of faith made at one of their revivals in years. In fact, attendance at their annual revivals had declined to such a level that some dared to begin asking if the annual tradition should continue. "But if we don't have the revival then the Gospel won't be preached here in our town," many said. Although the reality was that those they had intended to reach simply weren't attending their revival services.
The same thing happens in many churches on a much less dramatic level. In the 1940s churches simply opened their doors and their pews were flooded with returning G.I.s and their families. In the 1950s those same servicemen and women brought their young children to church with them and churches, nurseries, and Sunday school classrooms were full. Since then, many churches mistakenly believe all we must do is open our doors and people will come into the church. And for the past 60 years, with declining results, they've been insisting that this idea will still work.
So in our modern culture why does a person get involved in a new church? There are certainly as many answers to that question as there are new people getting involved in churches, but there is one primary way that seems to ring true across churches. Most people get involved in a church because of a friend. In fact, a recent study showed that 82% of Americans would come to a church if a trusted friend invited them. Yet, in a typical year only 2% of Christians invite a friend to church. Why is that? For most of us it's because all our friends already attend church. Studies show that after three years of attending a church upwards of 90% of our closest friends attend that same church. Most of us seclude ourselves from non-Christians.
In this message we will be examining some practical ways we can invite others to church, how we can become friends with non-Christians, and how we can connect our non-Christian friends with our Christian friends.