The issue here isn’t programs or materials. The issue is a passionate commitment on the part of the leadership of the church to a Kingdom orientation and the Great Commission that results in new, passionate Christians who owe their lives and existence to their transformation. Programs don’t make Christians, just church members. Church members are seldom concerned enough about people’s souls that they will overcome their shyness and invite people not just to their church but to experience the community and love within their church.
What this means is that the run of the mill, moderate to liberal church seldom sees people invite people to come and see what Christ is doing. It also means that when they do, most of the time people don’t experience community as much as they experience another club with dues attitude.
I don’t know your church, but I do know that this is the issue that is separating churches. Some of us are trying to grow churches. Its time to quit that and focus on participating in the expansion of the Kingdom. But my using the word Expansion bothers some church leaders and that is the problem.
So the issue is one of why we do what we do. Is it to bring people into a saving, redeeming, recreating experience with Jesus that will totally change their lives or are we looking for dues paying members who will become active in the church and invite people to their church.
I’m in no way downplaying your question. I am simply putting my finger where I see the pulse. Getting people to invite their friends is, for lack of another word, A God Thing. It doesn’t come from programs. it comes from a transformed heart and life. that is what is missing in most of the churches we see. We see church members who have little awareness of any radical change in their lives who attend a church that has very little serious community ,so why should they invite anyone
Now, if your church has serious community, free of ongoing bickering, and is baptizing new Christians on a regular basis, then all you have to do is point them and encourage them and they will invite their friends.
Of course if you insist on programs, here are some ideas
(1) Elmer Towns has several person-to-person invitational approaches (some of them detailed and free) at www.elmertowns.com, and click on ‘resources’.
(2) the North Texas conference of the United Methodist church has operated a ‘bring a friend’ campaign annually for a number of years. They have resources they made available to congregations in the conference … I don’t know if they’d make them available to others.
(3) For a clergy the first Christmas at a new congregation, i don’t know of anything better than ‘come home for Christmas,’ an invitation to the whole congregation to come to a worship service and dinner–no it’s not fundraising. herb miller described it in the past. it might be available as a reprint from net results.
(4) The congregation I’m now serving has used something they’ve called ‘Sample Sundays’ in the past, and we’re going to do it again in the fall. these are specific Sundays set aside for non-church members clearly to ‘sample’ what our services are like. the idea is, the guest may feel more comfortable operating under the assumption that he or she won’t be the ONLY non-member present.
(5) Baptisms are OUTSTANDING opportunities to invite the parents to make invitations to family members, co-workers and friends, maybe even with formal, printed invitations to make it more special.
(6) Programs and groups during the week sometimes feel more accessible to some people as the first step, before coming to worship.
(7) Finally, and most importantly, the prayers and practice practice of the clergy, staff, and key leaders are probably more influential than anything else on an ongoing basis…are YOU inviting people to come to worship? when they come, do you introduce the person to others?
(8) 21st Century Strategies has a workbook title Evangelism in Traditional and Non-Traditional churches – Click here